Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from Walker Books. Many thanks to them!

Synopsis:

The dying wish of 16-year-old Lina’s mother was for her daughter to live in Tuscany and get to know her father, whom Lina has never met.

“Howard is the best man I’ve ever known,” her mother says, “he’ll keep you safe.” Why did her mother wait so long to tell her about him? Lina has a happy life in Seattle and doesn’t want to leave. Shortly after she arrives at Howard’s home, Lina meets Sonya, who gives Lina a diary that belonged to Lina’s mother, the one she had kept while she was a photography student in Florence. While Lina is living her life and exploring Tuscany with her handsome neighbour, Ren, she follows in the footsteps of her mother and gets to know her as never before. She also finds out the truth about her father. Mostly she finds out about herself.

Thoughts:

I have had Love & Gelato on my radar for the longest time, so I was incredibly happy to be able to read a copy, thanks to Walker Books! It’s a wonderful summer read. I think if you’re a fan of the contemporary YA genre, then this book is certainly for you this summer.

It’s set in Italy and follows Lina. Lina moves to Italy after her mum dies on her mum’s request to be with Howard- a man from the past. When Lina arrives in Italy, she is given her mother’s old journal. Lina starts to read the journal and learns much more about her mum and herself than she had ever anticipated!

I loved following Lina, who I found incredibly easy to connect to. I felt for her, having to deal with the loss of her mother and then have to move to Italy to live with a man that she had only just heard of. Lina really gets herself into awkward situations, but this made her all the more realistic in my eyes.

I was impressed that the author took their time with Lina’s grieving process. She did struggle at first, she did question. She didn’t just move to Italy and everything was magically better. That’s more real to read about!

Love & Gelato has made me want to visit Italy. The author really painted a picture with her words. It left me craving gelato too… I’m definitely more inclined to go to Italy after reading this cute story!

I can’t believe that this book was the author’s debut as it feels incredibly established. I would definitely pick up her next book!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A very cute YA contemporary read. Perfect for the beach!

Truth Or Dare

Truth or Dare

How did I get it?:
Received from Walker Books! Many thanks to them.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Trouble
Remix
Unboxed

Synopsis:

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

Thoughts:

I do so love Non Pratt’s writing, so when I had the opportunity to read Truth Or Dare I jumped at the chance. Non Pratt is absolutely fantastic at representing teens. She just gets it and her books are raw, truthful and utterly relatable. Even if you’re not a teenager, her writing brings you right back to those teenage years. She is also fantastic at representing a diverse range of people.

Truth or Dare centres around Sef and Claire. Sef and Claire decide to open up a YouTube channel to raise money for Sef’s brother who has had a traumatic brain injury. The idea for videos is to complete ‘Truth or Dares’ where the viewers donate money to see certain dares. The money will go towards therapy for Sef’s brother. As a reader, we hear from Claire and Sef’s point of view. We follow Claire first and then flip the book over for Sef’s point of view.

This book is and isn’t easy to read. Its subject matter makes it challenging to read, but it’s completely engrossing at the same time. Kam’s disability is obviously at the core of the story, Sef is really struggling to deal with the extent of his big brother’s injury. Other diverse elements include Claire’s best friend Seren being asexual. I had never read this in a book before, so I was really happy to see it included in a young adult book. As well as disability and sexuality being represented, Sef isn’t a white British character. Despite this book covering so many diverse subjects, it never feels like its diversity is being shoved down your throat. It’s subtle, it’s realistic and it’s wonderful.

I think this book would appeal to young adults and adults alike. There’s something in there for everyone.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fabulous, realistic read!

Blog Tour- Illusionary Review

Illusionary Blog Tour Banner

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Illusionary by Desiree Williams.

Illusionary

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from the author for the blog tour.

Synopsis:

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.
Alice fell down a hole.
Wendy flew to Neverland.
Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.
Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.
Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.
No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.
Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.
  

Thoughts:

I was asked if I’d be interesting in joining the blog tour for this book. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew that I wanted to read this book. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I absolutely adore fairy tales and all things magical realism. Illusionary certainly fits that bill.

Kamryn is our main character. She’s an adult, but she’s struggling with adapting to all things adult. Don’t we all? Kamryn’s dreams are taking her in different directions which makes her older sister despair. Her older sister wants the best for Kamryn but Kamryn wants to pursue her passion. Kamryn and her sister fight resulting in Kamryn tripping and finding herself at the bottom of the stairs. When Kamryn comes around, she’s in the land of Ur. She has some questions to ask but answers are not given. She is given a mission to carry out with Reese, a storyteller in Ur. They’re hoping to rescue the Maker of Ur so he can send her home. Of course, it’s not as easy as Kamryn wants and they end up everywhere…

I enjoyed reading this story, which didn’t take long for me to read! I was intrigued by the adventure. I really enjoyed reading the nods to other famous books e.g. The Wizard Of Oz. It’s a bookworm’s dream to read such a bookish story. I also enjoyed the romance in this story. It wasn’t cheesy or overdone. It was just right.

The only reason I didn’t rate this book any higher was because I didn’t enjoy the character of the evil queen as much as I wanted to. I would have enjoyed it more if the character was more fleshed out, but that’s my personal opinion and I think many people would still enjoy the character!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Desiree is kindly offering a giveaway for this blog tour. email): a “Make everyday an adventure” pillow, “Don’t Grow Up! It’s a Trap!” metal sign, book cozy, signed paperback of Illusionary, notebook with pens, sketch book with colored pencils, and a “Eat Cake for Breakfast” travel cup. 

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Purchasing Illusionary

 

Winger (Winger #1)

Winger (Winger, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

Thoughts:

I have taken some time to write this review, as I’m actually not sure what I made of it. It was certainly a unique read. I didn’t hate this book, but at the same time, I didn’t really like it. I think it’s going to be a book that divides many readers. Perhaps Andrew Smith is a marmite author? I don’t know, this was my first experience of reading his work, but it left me feeling quite torn!

Winger centres around Ryan Dean, who is a clever fourteen year old boy. He’s two years ahead of his grade because he’s so intelligent. Being in a class with sixteen year olds makes him feel out of place. He finds it hard to fit in and make friends. Ryan Dean is also in ‘bad’ dorm of his boarding school as he’s not complying with the rules. Ryan Dean is incredibly hormonal. He’s awkward, funny and constantly makes mistakes. I think this makes him an incredibly authentic character.

For me, the story was a little repetitive and Ryan Dean was a little whingy. Winger is quite a long book at over 400 pages and I felt like the plot wasn’t nearly as full as it could have been. I enjoyed some of the jokes, but some were a little bit too crude for my liking.

The ending had me completely shocked, I didn’t see it coming at all. I love that in a book and that is what drove me to recommend it to others. That, and I’m sure others will enjoy Andrew Smith’s unique writing.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

This book was a real mixed bag for me!

One Of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Penguin Random House

Synopsis:

Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Thoughts:

This book was one of my most anticipated at the start of the year. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I really think it’s a solid YA read that many people who don’t usually read YA would enjoy.

One Of Us Is Lying is set in a high school where we find five teenagers in detention. Those five teenagers are pretty much stereotypical high school characters. You know the ones, there’s smart, bad boy, athlete, popular/pretty girl etc. etc. At first I thought it was going to annoy me. I don’t like reading books with such stereotypes, but it really worked with this book. Simon is also in detention. He runs a gossip app, giving gossip to the rest of the school that is incredibly accurate. This gave me real Gossip Girl vibes. During detention, Simon dies in what seems like suspicious circumstances. Although they aren’t the typical detention students, each and every one of them has a secret they didn’t want Simon to release…

I think you’d especially enjoy this book if you’re into Gossip Girl. Like I said, it definitely has the vibe which I adore. I loved the mysterious element to the story. I really enjoyed trying to work out what had happened to Simon. I did get it right, by the end of the story but that didn’t affect my enjoyment at all. I loved the range of characters within the story and how they all had a reason to want Simon dead.

I think the only reason I haven’t rated this book any higher is because I expected it to be a lot more dark and unpredictable. That possibly says something about me!?

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful, easy to read book. Great for fans of YA and beyond!

Phantom Limbs

Phantom Limbs

How did I get it?:
I received it from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review!

Synopsis:

Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.

Thoughts:

I had heard some buzz around Phantom Limbs, so when I was given the opportunity to read this powerful debut, I jumped at the chance. Phantom Limbs is a fantastic, accomplished debut. I was engrossed from the start.

The story centres around Otis and Meg who used to be inseparable until an awful accident in which Otis’s younger brother died. It affected both of their families, leading to Meg and her family moving away. Since the accident, Otis hadn’t heard from Meg. He became close to Dara, a senior, who was training Otis in the hope he would become the Olympic swimmer she always wanted to be. Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town. Both Otis and Meg have to face the past and either move on and away from it or learn to deal with the past, even if it has changed them.

I couldn’t put this book down. I was completely captivated by the characters. I wanted to see if all was going to end well for them. It’s not an easy journey. It’s emotional and Paula Garner really does take you on a journey with the characters. I loved that the characters aren’t flawless. It makes them even more realistic. There’s so much loss, regret, loneliness but there’s also love and moments of humour. It really was a special read to me. It for some reason, just wasn’t a 5 star. I have a feeling it could be for many readers though.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

If you’re a fan of realistic, emotional YA reads then this book is for you!

Unboxed

Unboxed

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Unboxed is about four teenagers who come together after several months apart. In previous years, they had put together a time capsule about their best summer with a friend who was dying. Now that their friend has passed, they reunite to open the box.

Thoughts:

Unboxed is such a cute friendship story. It’s less than 200 pages long, but really does pack a punch. It centres around one evening. It’s about a group of friends who have drifted apart as they went separate ways in their lives. One of the group has died recently, and it is her wish that they reunite to retrieve a time capsule that they buried five years previous.

I was so surprised that I grew to love all of the characters, despite it being such a short read. It is so easy to read this book in one sitting. It’s got short, snappy chapters and an interesting story line. Non Pratt is absolutely fantastic at character development. I felt like I’d know the characters for ages! The characters are completely believable and I was desperate to know more about them.

This really is a wonderful story and I’m glad I took the time to read it!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Beautifully written with fantastic characters. Easy to devour in one sitting!