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!

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More Than We Can Tell (Letters To The Lost #2)

More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved Letters To The Lost so I was super excited to read this story. I really do like it when you don’t necessarily need to read the previous book to enjoy the book you’re starting. I did read Letters To The Lost first so the characters were wonderfully familiar to me. I love that. Paige Toon (a British writer) does the same thing with her books and I love that familiarity.

This book centres around Rev and Emma who are both battling demons. Rev has been adopted after escaping his abusive father. Understandably, Rev is incredibly affected by his past. When he receives a letter from his father, it brings the trauma back to him. Emma is suffering from her parents’ broken marriage. She keeps her head down and builds a computer game just like her father who she idolises. However, she soon encounters an online troll and the harassment becomes too much to deal with. Rev and Emma meet and bond over their turmoil. Both of their situations become dangerous and their relationship is tested in so many ways.

Rev is such an adorable character. He’s seriously one of the most sweetest characters I’ve read about in a while. He’s a vulnerable character and emotional too. I loved his journey through this story. He had to realise that he was loved and his father was in the wrong. His growth was massive and a joy to read about. I liked Emma as a character, but not as much as I liked Rev. I felt Emma was a bit whiny and horrible to her friend who kept supporting her. I totally got that the internet abuse was awful but I felt more sorry for Rev.

The story had me absolutely gripped. It is incredibly dark and intense at many points, but it kept me flicking through the pages. I devoured it but made myself put it down at points so I could savour it for longer. I look forward to reading more from Brigid in the future.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course 4.5 stars!

A brilliant book. If you like your YA darker then give this book a go!

The Hidden Memory Of Objects

The Hidden Memory of Objects

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

Thoughts:

I am working my way through some debut novels that I meant to read in 2017.  My most recent read was The Hidden Memory Of Objects. Now this was a book that I didn’t know much about before reading it and I’m glad I didn’t. I went into it not knowing what to expect and I do like that!

The Hidden Memory Of Objects centres around Megan who is dealing with her brother’s death. It is said that her brother took a drug overdose. Megan hasn’t really accepted what the police have told her as it was so far from the brother that she knew. Whilst going through her brother’s belongings, she discovers an ability to see memories attached to objects. Megan realises that she can investigate the circumstances of his death. This was such a unique spin on a grief plot which I really did appreciate.

Megan is a great character. I loved that she was so close to her brother. The supporting characters are also wonderful. It was great to see that Megan’s parents were in the story. They were both dealing with the loss of their son and trying to protect Megan from what the police were telling her.

The story has plenty going on to get stuck into. There’s a wonderful friendship between Megan and Eric and also a slow burn romance. I do prefer a slow burn as I think it’s totally more realistic. I literally roll my eyes when I come across insta-love. Something else quite unique in this story was the historical element of the story. It included the assassination of Lincoln. There were artefacts linked to the night of the assassination that also had memories attached to it that Megan could see. It’s surprising how well this works with the rest of the plot!

This a fantastic debut novel. Danielle Mages Amato has a very compelling writing style and has created such a unique story.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I had a very odd reading experience with this one. It was a compelling read but strange at the same time!

What If It’s Us

What If It's Us

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Becky Albertalli

Standalone-

Adam Silvera

Synopsis:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

Thoughts:

I’m a big fan of both of these authors, so them writing a book together is pretty much an awesome collaboration in my eyes. Whilst I do prefer their writing separately, I still very much enjoyed reading Arthur and Ben’s story. It is heavily romance based, so if that’s not your thing then I wouldn’t recommend this. If, however, you’re looking for a sweet YA read then What If It’s Us could be the book for you!

The story revolves around a first meeting of Arthur and Ben. They meet at a post office when Ben is returning his ex-boyfriend’s belongings. They end up chatting and connecting but never sharing contact details. After a while, Arthur and Ben manage to reconnect and this is where their story really starts to take off. There are so many bumps along the way. Their foundations are so shaky and you never know whether they’re going to get things together. Added to that, Arthur doesn’t live in New York so will they manage a long distance relationship?

If you’re into really plot heavy books, then this book may put you off. I usually prefer to read a book with a decent plot, but for this book, the character’s really did warm my heart and made me want to read their story, even if it wasn’t the most full plot.

Arthur was a bundle of energy and could be a little frustrating as a character but on the whole I thought he was a cute character. Ben was the more relatable of the two of them, I think. He very much enjoyed being inside, playing Sims and writing. My sort of person for sure. Ben does move on rather quickly from his break up and I did question that, but it didn’t necessarily affect my enjoyment of the story as a whole. Sometimes these things happen, we don’t know when someone might walk into our lives.

Becky and Adam as the authors made a wonderful team in my opinion. There was a great balance of humour and softer moments. I enjoyed reading this book and I’m pleased I got around to reading it!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This was an incredibly cute story that really warmed my heart. Perfect for fans of YA Contemporary.

Sadie

Sadie

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Thoughts:

I absolutely adore Courtney Summers! Her writing is wonderful and her books are often dark, real and raw. I had heard some rave reviews of Sadie so I was super excited to get around to it. I have to admit, it did take me a while to get into which surprised me, but as soon as I was into it, I was utterly gripped.

Sadie is the story of Sadie and her murdered sister. Sadie goes missing and we find out that she’s on the hunt for her sister’s killer. She wants revenge. The story is told through reading about a podcast by West McCray who is a local radio personality. We also follow Sadie as she searches for her sister’s killer. You read about the mystery unravelling through the podcast and then you read Sadie’s first hand experience. It’s a dark story and it’s clear that Sadie has had a horrific past.

It’s hard to review this book because this is a book that I feel you shouldn’t know too much about before you go into it. It’s such a raw mystery that unravels as you go through the pages.

This book really does have an ambiguous ending. It won’t be for everyone. It’s why I haven’t rated it any higher and I did struggle to think of a rating for this book. I definitely wanted more closure. That being said, I did think Sadie was a decent read that kept me quickly turning the pages. It includes some very heavy subject matter so be cautious when approaching this story.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I can see why this book has been so highly recommended. It’s a dark, raw tale!

The Surface Breaks

The Surface Breaks

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.

Thoughts:

Don’t go into this book thinking that you’re going to get the Disney The Little Mermaid. Oh no. This is definitely the Hans Christian Andersen version reimagined by the ever fierce Louise O’Neill. When I pick up a book by Louise O’Neill, I know I’m going to get a raw story. Louise never holds back. I can certainly see why some people have issues with this book. It is incredibly dark and certainly has feminist elements within its pages.

It starts with the youngest daughter of the Sea King turning fifteen years old. The reader is introduced to Gaia and her sisters. We find out that the monarchy under the sea is corrupt. The Sea King’s daughters are not treated well. They’re expected to look pretty for their men. They are only seen as objects to be sold to men. Urgh.

Gaia, the youngest, is the prettiest and she has a wonderful singing voice. Her future has been decided for her by her father. She is to be married to an older merman (She’s 15 and he’s around 60ish!) Gaia is always told that she is fortunate because she’s been blessed with looks and a beautiful voice. Gaia dreams of swimming up to the surface even though her father is very against it. During her first swim, Gaia sets her eyes on a man up there. She saves him from a shipwreck and from then on, can’t stop thinking of him. Gaia starts to question life under the sea.

Gaia can be a bit of a frustrating character to read about. She’s so naive but I totally forgave that quality because it was clear that she was searching for someone to love her because of who she was. I loved following her story both under the sea and on the surface. I absolutely adored the sea witch. A very strong female character.

This story is so dark and sinister. It really is so far from the Disney version. It’s so close to the original Hans Christian Andersen tale which I absolutely love despite how brutal it is!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Don’t expect Disney. This reimagining is very close to Hans Christian Andersen’s story. 

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

Thoughts:

I had heard so many wonderful things about this book that I thought it was about time that I checked it out. I do enjoy contemporary YA fiction, so I was happy to give it a go. This is the first time I’ve read a book from Maurene Goo and I was suitably impressed!  I don’t think it’s a book that will stay with me for a long time, but it was certainly a pleasure to read!

Our main character Desi, is a bit of an overacheiver. She always has a plan for everything. Desi is determined to get into Stanford to train to be a doctor. Desi has a plan to get there. However, Desi wants to have a boyfriend before she goes to college. When Luca appears at school, she’s determined that he’s the one that’ll be her first boyfriend. She finds herself watching some Korean dramas and taking some inspiration from them. She comes up with some steps from Korean dramas to work through. But will everything go to plan?

The plot of this story was a little silly and predictable, but it was easy enough to read. I really enjoyed Desi’s Dad. I think it’s so important that we have positive family relationships represented in YA literature. Their relationship was very sweet to read about.

This book was fun despite its OTT nature. If you’re looking for a light-hearted read in-between heavier reads then this might be the book for you.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book despite its over the top nature!