Save The Date

Save the Date

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Thoughts:

Hmmm… I’m usually a massive fan of this genre, but for some reason Save The Date didn’t seem to work for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was okay… but nothing exciting in my opinion and I didn’t find it overly memorable.

Save The Date is told over the weekend. Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married at the family home. Their family home is being sold so everything is moved forward. Charlie and her family have very strong relationships. It’s somewhat helped by the fact that Charlie and her sibling’s lives have been portrayed out in their mother’s cartoon strip Grant Central Station. However, Charlie’s mother goes too far at one point and shows too much of Mike’s life, causing a family rift. Mike comes back for the wedding, Danny (her favourite brother) brings an unexpected girlfriend home and nothing goes right at all! It all causes a LOT of drama for the Grant family.

I really enjoyed the Grant family dynamics. I loved the sibling relationships whether they were strained or close. I thought they were really realistic. I also totally got Mike’s point at being really annoyed with his mother. I can’t say I’d enjoy the sensitive parts of my life being broadcast to the world. So I totally got that. There were moments of this book that were totally wonderful to read. I really did enjoy Charlie as a main character. I was invested in what was going to happen to her.

I think all of the wedding drama got a little bit too much for me. It was so exaggerated and I found myself tiring of the plot line. It definitely made me eye roll and that’s not a good thing. However, there’s no denying that Morgan Matson is a talented writer. I do enjoy reading her books. It’s just in my opinion, this isn’t one of her better books.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I really liked the ending which is why I gave this book three stars. I think I just had a weird relationship with it! Fans of YA should enjoy it.

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Magic Under Stone (Magic Under #2)

Magic Under Stone (Magic Under, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Magic Under Glass

Synopsis:

For star-crossed lovers Nimira and Erris, there can be no happily ever after until Erris is freed from the clockwork form in which his soul is trapped. And so they go in search of the sorcerer Ordorio Valdana, hoping he will know how to grant Erris real life again. When they learn that Valdana has mysteriously vanished, it’s not long before Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands—and begins to study the sorcerer’s spell books in secret. Yet even as she begins to understand the power and limitations of sorcery, it becomes clear that freeing Erris will bring danger—if not out-and-out war—as factions within the faerie world are prepared to stop at nothing to prevent him from regaining the throne. 

Thoughts:

Oh my goodness! I have been meaning to read this book for years. Literal years. No hyperbole. I read the first book in 2013. 2013!!!! It’s ridiculous that this book has been on my shelves for so long. I certainly think it’s a lesson to myself- don’t leave books too long. However, stepping into this story, it didn’t feel like it had been as long. I was super happy to return to Nimira, Erris and the world that Jaclyn Dolamore created.

Erris is trapped in clockwork form. He goes with Nimira to find the great sorcerer Ordorio Valdana, hoping that he will be able to give Erris a real life. They soon found out that Valdana has vanished. Nimira starts to study Valdana’s books in secret, but she realises that freeing Erris brings danger and possible war between the worlds…

It’s always hard to read a sequel of a book that you loved so dearly. Whilst this book didn’t quite capture my heart as much as its predecessor, it was still such an easy to read book.

The characters are incredibly complex, although I’m sad to say some of them did grate on me a little towards the middle of this book. I felt that their actions somewhat brought the book to a slower pace and I just wanted them to get on with saving Erris. I did really enjoy the inclusion of Ifra, a new character to this duology. He was a very interesting character and added something exciting to the story that’s for sure.

I’m not sure that I was overly satisfied with the ending. It felt a little rushed for my liking. I felt like I had a lot of unanswered questions. Whilst I wasn’t disappointed by this book, it lacked some magic of the first.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I’m thrilled that I finally got around to reading this book. It didn’t quite match the first, but I’m pleased I managed to read it!

Broken Things

Broken Things

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. 

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it. 

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

Thoughts:

I had read the Delirium trilogy before my blogging days and have since read two of Lauren’s books since blogging which you can see in my previously reviewed section. I can sometimes find her writing a bit hit and miss. However, I really enjoyed Broken Things and it kept me gripped throughout.

It centres around three girls named Brynn, Mia and Summer. Brynn and Mia were accused of brutally murdering Summer. It was believed that it was driven by their obsession with the book called ‘The Way Into Lovelorn.’ However, the girls didn’t do it. On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a discovery brings the mystery to the forefront again. Mia and Brynn are brought together again and this time they want to find out what really happened in the woods.

I was immediately intrigued by this book. It’s plot was highly original and exciting. I loved how the story was told between Brynn and Mia’s perspectives. I also enjoyed the chapters in-between that had quotes from ‘The Way Into Lovelorn.’ It was really fun to play detective and try to work out who exactly

I really liked both of the main characters. Brynn was the more outgoing of the two. Mia was quieter but I loved how she had the strength to stand up when something was wrong. They both had their own issues going on, but I do feel they worked well together despite their differences.

This book is intense, mysterious and pretty full on. It’s a compulsive reading experience but at the same time it has some very controversial subjects including murder of a child and paedophilia- so if you’re sensitive to these subjects approach this book with caution.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A brilliant read from Lauren Oliver! I was very impressed!

Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
This Is Where It Ends

Synopsis:

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Marieke’s debut novel, so I was excited to give Before I Let Go a try. I had heard very mixed reviews about this book- so I’ve somewhat taken my time with getting around to it. However, like always, I always give a book a good go and that’s what I did with this one. There were things that I absolutely loved about it, however, I did get confused at points which is why this book wasn’t rated a 4 star read for me.

Before I Let Go is centred in Lost Creek, which is an isolated community in Alaska. The story follows Corey and Kyra’s friendship. Corey and Kyra used to be really close until Corey moved away. Corey goes back to Lost Creek and finds herself an outcast. Kyra had some troubles and died a tragic death. Corey feels like she’s the only one that remembers what Kyra was like. Despite the community being cold towards her, Corey is determined to find out answers.

There’s no denying that Marieke Nijkamp is a fantastic writer. There’s something about her writing that completely pulls me in and keeps me captivated. Lost Creek is certainly a well written, creepy setting and I was desperate to find out more about it. I also really enjoyed the friendship between Corey and Kyra. It was clear that they really did care for one another. I am all for the representation of mental health as well. I don’t have much knowledge of bipolar disorder but I feel, from what I know, it was an accurate representation.

The reason why I dropped this book half a star is because I felt the plot didn’t immerse me enough. I kept on reading because the writing was simply beautiful. However, I didn’t care for what was going on and I kept searching for something to really grip me or shock me. Perhaps, the beauty of this book lies in the fact that it doesn’t have a complex plot.

I would definitely read more from Marieke. She’s a super talented writer, this plot just didn’t work entirely for me, however, I can imagine many would love it!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A decent read. Marieke is a great writer, I just wasn’t blown away by the story itself!

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

Thoughts:

I am slowly making my way through Holly Bourne’s books. She’s an author that I’ve always heard a lot about. I’ve heard her speak at a few events and I’m always impressed with her. I’m going to make it my mission in 2019 to catch up with her backlist books, as I always enjoy her books when I’m reading them. She’s an author that really gets mental health and I’m definitely here for that.

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? is a YA read about a group of teens that go to Camp Reset to try and learn how to be ‘normal.’ Whilst there, Olive, our main protagonist meets new friends that she’d never have expected. They all have their own backstories and reasons why they’re there. Olive comes up with a plan to solve their problems. However, how will Olive manage to save everyone else when she has trouble helping herself?

I love Holly Bourne’s writing style. She’s so honest about mental health. When she creates characters that have mental health issues, she really nails it. Their experiences with mental health are so raw and real. I love that she doesn’t have a magic cure for her characters. Mental health is messy and Holly Bourne always portrays that so well.

I loved that each character was so well developed. The character growth was impressive. They were all flawed but every single thing that they did or experienced didn’t seem contrived at all. All of their actions were totally believable.

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? message is about challenging what normal is. It talks about whether it’s the world and what happens to us that affects mental health. I liked the idea of challenging labels and thinking how we can use kindness to overcome problems including (most importantly) kindness to your self. Aww.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic reading experience. Holly Bourne is a champion of YA mental health representation. 

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

How did I get it?:
I was sent a copy from the publisher, Walker Books.

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum … and her mum’s depression. When Stevie’s mum’s disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father’s 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz’s parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie… As Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. 

Thoughts:

It’s been a while since I’ve read Siobhan Curham’s work, but oh my goodness it was lovely to get back to her writing. There’s something about Siobhan’s writing that makes me feel like I’m wrapped up in a cosy blanket. Her books are adorable and so heartfelt.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow centres around Stevie and Hafiz. Stevie is a bit of an outsider at school. She’s dealing with a lot. Her father died a few years prior and her mother became incredibly depressed. She was unable to look after herself so certainly was neglecting Stevie’s needs. Stevie struggles to get food together and her uniform is a bit small/worn. Stevie does a paper round to try and raise some more funds. She’s also saving for a guitar because music is what makes her feel better.

Hafiz has just travelled to the UK from Syria to live with his Aunt and Uncle. He’s left his family behind and is feeling incredibly worried about their safety. Hafiz has a passion for football as an escape from his problems. He is soon picked for the school team, however, he has some troubles fitting in with some of the team who only see him as a refugee. Stevie and Hafiz are put together on Hafiz’s first day of school. The two become close and develop a friendship that supports one another. They both search for their own stories and attempt to find their purpose in life.

I really enjoyed this book because it felt realistic to the world that we live in today. I really loved Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship. The characters felt so well developed that it felt like they were real people that I was observing. I loved the alternate chapters because I wanted to read more from their points of view. I never felt confused with who was narrating a chapter. Each character had their own identity. This book really makes you think about others. It packs a powerful punch, that’s for sure. I also appreciated the focus on mental health. We do need to be speaking about it more and I was impressed with the representation of depression in this story.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful read! It touched my heart.

Love Songs & Other Lies

Love Songs & Other Lies

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

Synopsis:

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Thoughts:

Ooh, I had a very mixed experience reading this book. It wasn’t quite what I had expected.

Love Songs & Other Lies centres around Vee and her best friends. Her friends have just got a spot on a battle of the bands reality show. Logan, who is the lead singer, has encouraged her to join them and get some experience in PR and marketing. It’s an offer that Vee can’t really turn down. She joins the band on tour, but then finds out Cam, her first love but unfortunately first heartbreak is on the tour too…

As I said, this book was a mixed experience. I liked Logan, even though he had some pretty stupid moments. He had good intentions. Jessica Pennington’s writing was good and easy enough to read. I liked the flashbacks between the current time and back then. I did enjoy that it was a bit of a mystery- that I didn’t expect. I do think that his book felt a little rushed and maybe it was a bit longer, we could have delved in more deeply and perhaps felt a little more invested.

The plot isn’t overly original. However, I do like reading books that involve music, so it didn’t really matter to me. I don’t feel like the plot was fast-moving or had enough in it to really make me excited about the story. It’s less than 300 pages, but it still took me a while to get through. The plot didn’t capture me and keep me picking up the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to YA fans, but it’s not one that immediately will come to mind when I’m asked for a recommendation.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

If you’re a fan of contemporary YA, you might want to check out this book. I didn’t find it overly memorable but it was enjoyable enough in my opinion!