No Shame

No Shame

How did I get it?:
I received it from the publisher in exchange for a honest review!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

Thoughts:

This book follows No Virgin. I think you can read this book without reading No Virgin but it enhances your reading experience if you do read the previous book. Ultimately, this book has the same message as No Virgin. It encourages victims of rape to speak out and seek justice for the terrible thing that has happened to them.

In No Shame, Stacey has reported the disgusting man to the police and the trial is looming. Stacey is trying to carry on with her life. She’s thinking about her future and works a part time job. As well as this, she has to be prepared for standing against the man who raped her. I found the man in question incredibly creepy and arrogant. Every single time he smirked in court, it made me mad. I was desperate for him to be charged. I won’t ruin what happens but things aren’t easy, that’s for sure!

This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one. Anne Cassidy is wonderful at creating characters that you feel empathy for. The book is short and fast paced. It really packs a punch. I think both books have such an important place in YA literature. I’m so pleased I read it because it does make you think about keeping yourself safe and speaking out when you’re uncomfortable!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I thought this was a fantastic companion novel that shows that there can be many bumps in the road in your life!

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No Virgin

No Virgin

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.

Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey’s story.

Thoughts:

I was approached to read the sequel of this book No Shame and decided that I needed to read No Virgin first. I’m glad i did because I think No Virgin is important to read before you read the next story.

It tells the story of Stacey Woods who was raped. Stacey has a falling out with her sister (who has a child at 14) and her mother. She leaves the house determined not to go home. Stacey meets a boy that she feels instantly connected to. She goes back to his house, but she doesn’t expect things to turn out the way they do. Stacey doesn’t feel like she can tell people, but ultimately she works out it’s the best thing to do.

I loved how this story promoted speaking to others about rape something which is never acceptable. Stacey seeks help from her friend, family and a rape crisis helpline.

If you find reading stories around these themes then I wouldn’t recommend this book. It’s not as intense as Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (it’s been compared to it) but it’s an important story that I believe should be told!

Would I recommend it?
Yes! 3.5 stars

An important, though dark read!

Look out for my review of the companion novel, No Shame next week!

Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking. 

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about. 

But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?

Thoughts:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, but its synopsis intrigued me. I haven’t read many contemporary YA books about kidnapping! I expected this book to be a little bit darker than it actually was. This didn’t spoil my opinion of it though, I thought it was an interesting, easy to read book.

Emmy & Oliver is about the relationship between our main characters after Oliver returns from being kidnapped by his father. Oliver has been living his life in New York for the past ten years. Oliver returns home and understandably a lot of things have changed. He initially struggles to fit in. Emmy is keen to pick up from where they left off. Emmy’s parents have been incredibly overprotective since Oliver’s disappearance. She often finds herself lying to her parents as they couldn’t cope with what she’s really doing…surfing and applying to a college where she’d live away from home. Oliver’s return is difficult, but Emmy is keen to build their relationship back up again.

I loved reading this book from Emmy’s point of view. She was an immediately likeable character. I loved her sense of humour and her determination to do what she wanted to do with her life, despite her overprotective parents. I absolutely adore her friendship with Drew and Caro, her best friends. They were both brilliant characters. Emmy and Oliver’s friendship that blossomed was totally believable. I loved reading about their interactions and how Oliver began to open up to Emmy.

With hindsight, I’m glad that this book wasn’t the darker read that I wanted it to be initially. I was happy to read lighter moments as it showed that Oliver was beginning to rebuild his life he once had and that made me happy. At the same time, I loved that Robin Benway didn’t shy away from the difficulties and emotions that Oliver experienced. It would have been unrealistic to think that life would immediately go back to normal.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An easy to read book! I thoroughly enjoyed all of the main characters!

Noggin

Noggin

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Highly Illogical Behaviour

Synopsis:

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice. 

Thoughts:

I didn’t think I’d like Noggin. I remember when it first came out so many people were reading it. There were a lot of mixed reviews, so I put it off. However, as soon as I read Highly Illogical Behaviour I knew I wanted to read something else by John Corey Whaley. I loved his writing. Noggin is a book that I shouldn’t have enjoyed. I like unique books, but Noggin really is something else.

Noggin centres around a boy called Travis who has had his head cryogenically frozen when he becomes critically ill with cancer. Five years later, Travis wakes up attached to the body of Jeremy Pratt. Travis has to adapt to a life in which his best friend and girlfriend are five years older than him. Travis still feels like it was yesterday, but five years have passed and people have moved on.

It may sound really science-y, but this book does read like a contemporary YA book, just a very odd YA contemporary! I think if you’re expecting it to be super sci-fi then you won’t be impressed by this book. Noggin is about friendship, romance and moving on with your life.

Travis is a character that I did like, but I can see that some people would find his behaviour quite annoying. He is super pushy and all for himself. He is desperate to get his girlfriend back, despite her being older, having a fiance and against his friend’s advice.

I enjoyed that Noggin took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Some moments were funny, some were annoying, some were sad. Noggin made me think though and I enjoyed that. I really enjoy John Corey Whaley’s writing and I’m looking forward to reading his debut novel. Yes, I totally broke the rules and I appear to be reading from recent to oldest release! 🙂

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

This book won’t be for everyone, but I thought it was so unique and intriguing!

Charlotte Says

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Frozen Charlotte
The Haunting

Synopsis:

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.
Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.

Thoughts:

I’m not a fan of horror. I think I’ve always made that quite clear here on my blog. However, there are some authors that I make an exception for… and Alex Bell is one of them. I’ve read all of Alex’s books (adult books too, they’re good, you should check them out!) and I adore her horror stories. I was so intrigued to see what Charlotte Says was like after thoroughly enjoying Frozen Charlotte. I found Charlotte Says to be even creepier. Some parts literally made me shudder.

Charlotte Says is based in 1910 and it centres around Jemima. After the death of her mother in a fire, Jemima begins a job at a school for girls at the very remote Isle of Skye. (Readers of Frozen Charlotte will recognise the setting!) Jemima finds life there tough and she finds herself thinking about what happened the night of the fire. She receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls (they creep me out!) from a mystery sender. Jemima recalls a seance with the dolls and events that resulted in the fire. The dolls are causing so much trouble at the school after a series of accidents involving the young girls who are used to create havoc amongst their peers.

I could not put this book down! I needed to at points, to you know…calm myself down. I have a very vivid imagination and Alex’s writing really stimulates my overactive imagination. I don’t want to say much about the plot itself as I want it to be read and enjoyed! Just know that it’s terrifying at some points! There are scenes that are still sticking in my mind, days after finishing the book. I think this book is scarier than Frozen Charlotte so if you’re of a nervous disposition then proceed with caution! 😉

Even though this book is a prequel to Frozen Charlotte, I don’t think you necessarily need to read it in order to understand Charlotte Says. It merely enhances your reading experience if you can spot the links!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Charlotte Says really creeped me out. It’s such an atmospheric, chilling read.

The Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #3)

The Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever . . .

Explosive, rich and darkly addictive, this is the stunning conclusion to Mel Salisbury’s internationally best-selling trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

Thoughts:

I went into reading The Scarecrow Queen with very high expectations. I absolutely loved the first two books in this series. I did enjoy The Scarecrow Queen but it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s so tricky to review a final book in a series as you don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t got so far. So, I’ll attempt to keep this review brief and as spoiler free as possible!

This instalment follows the story in three parts. In the first part, Twylla is travelling through villages looking for a way to stop Aurek. Twylla’s journey isn’t an easy one. She’s met with lots of obstacles in her way but she persists, eager although not confident to fight Aurek and win. In the second part, we follow Errin who is being held captive by Aurek. Aurek is forcing her to do anything he wants. Errin has an ally though and is planning her escape. In the third part the stories come together and the reader discovers whether Aurek can truly be defeated.

The Scarecrow Queen has a lot going for it. The plot certainly kept me turning the pages and I thought the pacing of the story was spot on. Every time I picked it up, I had some problems putting it down. I really enjoy Melinda Salisbury’s writing style. She is fantastic at capturing your attention and your imagination.

I absolutely love how there are two kick-ass female characters at the heart of this story. I loved reading about their experiences in building an army against Aurek. I was desperate for him to be beaten. I think my problem with this instalment in the trilogy is that I felt that some of the characters seemed to blend into the background. I wanted more from some of the other characters (like Silas) who were so prominent in the prior books.

My little niggles aside, I would totally recommend this series because I think it stands out in the YA fantasy genre. I’m glad that I’ve read it!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Although I wasn’t blown away by the ending of this trilogy, I have really enjoyed reading this series! Worth checking out if you’re into YA Fantasy!

By Your Side

By Your Side

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Thoughts:

Kasie West is one of those authors I go to, when I know I want to read something that’ll leave me happy and it won’t be too taxing to read. I hope that doesn’t sound like an insult, as it’s not intended that way! Kasie West’s books are just easy to devour and I have always enjoyed them. By Your Side wasn’t my favourite Kasie West book, but it was still a decent contemporary read.

By Your Side centres around Autumn. One day, Autumn finds herself trapped inside a library for a long weekend. Autumn isn’t alone. She’s trapped with Dax. Autumn doesn’t know a lot about Dax, but she’s heard rumours that he’s trouble. Autumn has no way of getting out, her bag is in the car with her friend, Dax’s phone is dead… so they just have to stay in the library and live off vending-machine food. Dax doesn’t want anything to do with her, but after a while they begin to warm to one another. After Autumn finds out information about her friend, she experiences a panic attack. Dax manages to get her help. The story follows Autumn after she gets out of the library. Will her connection with Dax last?

I have mixed feelings about anxiety in this book. First of all, I must say I love it when a character with anxiety is represented. I suffer from anxiety myself and appreciate its representation, especially in YA. I loved how supportive Autumn’s family were of her anxiety. I loved that her mum encouraged her to take mental health days and was constantly checking on Autumn’s feelings and emotions. Yes for supportive parents in YA!

On a more negative note, I felt like Autumn’s anxiety wasn’t portrayed in the best way that it could be. I totally understand that anxiety can take many shapes and forms, but I didn’t buy into Autumn’s anxiety. I also couldn’t believe that Autumn’s friends wouldn’t notice she had anxiety? Sure, she was medicated, but in my experience, even with medication it’s still there…just a dialled down version. My friends can still tell that I’m anxious in situations.

Another reason why I didn’t rate this any higher was because not all of the characters felt real enough to me. I felt like I didn’t know nearly enough about Dax to invest in their relationship.

I think this is a book where you have to suspend your disbelief (who gets locked in a library without phones in there…?) and just enjoy for what it is! A cute romance that doesn’t take long to read.

Would I recommend it?
Yes!

Whilst this isn’t my favourite Kasie West book, it doesn’t take long to read, just suspend your disbelief!