Release

Release

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Chaos Walking Trilogy:

Standalone:

Synopsis:

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Thoughts:

As soon as I hear that Patrick Ness has a new book coming out, I pre-order it straight away. He’s one of my auto-buy authors. I don’t even read the synopsis of the book. It’s going to be mine, without fail. I always wonder if I hype him too much, I mean, I love The Ness, I’ve made no secret of that fact. I always think I’m going to be disappointed by my high expectations for his work. It hasn’t happened to me…until now. However, it’s only a slight disappointment and even though I have my reservations about Release, I have seen so many positive reviews, so if you’re a Patrick Ness fan, don’t despair. His writing is beautiful and story so unique.

Release is similar to The Rest Of Us Just Live Here in the fact that it has two parallel plots that don’t really hit each other. There’s the plot that follows Adam Thorn and his life and then there’s a magical realism type fairy tale. Something you’d think I’d love, given my adoration of fairy tales, right? It’s like reading two separate stories. It worked for me for The Rest Of Us Just Live Here but for some reason, it didn’t work for me with Release. The book covers a lot of issues in a short space of time. There’s teen angst, family issues, love and extremely likeable characters. It’s also got a touch of paranormal.

I absolutely cannot fault Patrick Ness. I am still a huge fan, despite not loving this book in particular. His writing is amazing and the characters he creates are in-depth and extremely well considered. Release’s two plot lines just did not work for me. I wanted more of Adam’s story. I found his story to be powerful and compelling whereas the other plot line just felt a little cold.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Whilst this wasn’t my favourite book by Mr Ness, it was still a good read and one which many’ll enjoy!

The Art of Wishing

The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Thoughts:

I bought this book a while back and I’ve only just got around to reading it. It’s one of those books that’s perfect for reading in-between heavy going read. It was a fluffy read but fluff with genies. Yes! Genies. It does become a little silly towards the end, but that never dissuaded me from reading this book. It’s great for reading if you’re in the mood for a light contemporary. This certainly fits the bill.

It centres around Margo who meets Oliver and finds out that he is actually a genie. Oliver has granted a peer’s wish to be well liked. It’s landed her the role in the play that Margo was desperate for. Margo becomes intrigued by Oliver and wants to know more about him. When finding the ring that summons Oliver, Margo discovers that he’s a genie. Margo and her friends are great and I loved the growing relationship between Margo and Oliver. It wasn’t an instalove story which I always appreciate. The story then takes a turn when a fourth wish is introduced. Oliver’s rival also comes into the picture which brings a bit of a twist to the tale.

I really enjoyed this book. It was exactly what I wanted in the story. I liked how Lindsay Ribar gave quite a unique spin on genies. It was interesting to read her portrayal of how genies are born.

There are some fantastic characters to explore within this story and even if it does veer towards the ridiculous at some points, it’s still a fun and fluffy read.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars.

A fluffy and little silly contemporary read!

One Italian Summer

One Italian Summer

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hot Key Books

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

It’s been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie’s dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer’s here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy – but what’s it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms – the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was …

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again – gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with – or so she thinks. What’s going to happen this time? What’s more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky – Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn’t know how she fits in any more.

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?

Thoughts:

I thought this book was going to be a really cute, fluffy contemporary. The cute part was right, there are some incredibly cute moments in Keris Stainton’s One Italian Summer, however, it has depth to it that I certainly wasn’t expecting. It didn’t take me long to devour this book and I will certainly be recommending it as a summer beach read. I was transported to Italy and loved following this dear family who had been through so much.

It centres around three sisters who have recently lost their father. Everything is still raw for them, especially the thought of going back to Italy, where their father used to work and they often visited for family holidays. They have to return for a family wedding, but everything is of course, different.  It being a contemporary YA book, there’s also romance involved!

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, especially the sisters. I really enjoyed Milly. I loved how fiercely loyal she was to her sisters and her mother. She was honest about her grief and things didn’t just get easier for her once on holiday. Sure, she had some fun and distractions, but her dad was constantly in her thoughts which I thought was believable. The romance between her and Luke wasn’t vital to the story, but it certainly had its cute moments. I love reading books about sisters, especially when the author captures the true sister relationship. They ripped into each other as much as they loved each other which was so realistic!

I would’ve loved to have read some more descriptions and adventures between the sisters in Italy, but that is me being particularly nit-picky. As a whole, I thought the story was a fun, yet touching read about a family reconnecting after an unexpected and heart-breaking loss.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!- especially if you’re into contemporary YA!

A touching read- perfect for summer!

Girlhood

Girlhood

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hatchette/Quercus

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

Thoughts:

I really enjoy Cat Clarke’s books, so I always try to read one as soon as I can. I enjoy books that are set in boarding schools, so this was another thing that pulled me towards it. Whislt Girlhood isn’t my favourite book from Cat Clarke, it was still a decent read that didn’t take me long to read at all.

It centres around Harper, who has moved to an expensive boarding school, Duncraggan Academy. Harper is running away from her twin sister’s death and her own part that she feels she has in the death. Harper will never escape the guilt and she doesn’t feel anyone understands. Harper has a solid group of friends, but when new girl Kirsty starts the school, she gets Harper, more than anyone else. Kirsty has lost a sister as well. However, Kirsty turns out to be a little odd. Her life seems to be echoing Harper’s. She’s obsessed with Harper’s sister which is strange. Harper’s friendships begin to suffer due to her closeness with Kirsty.

There are some fantastic strong female leads in this book. I particularly liked Rowan, Harper’s roommate. I liked how she wouldn’t take any of Harper’s rubbish and would call her out when she did something wrong. There is quite a bit of girl drama in this book, as you might guess from the title, so if you’re not into that sort of read, then I’d be wary going into this book. That said, I think the friendships are so well written and developed. They are incredibly believable.

I think the story is incredibly easy to read. I was attempting to guess what might happen during the story, but I never quite got there. I had high hopes for this book at the beginning as it was so intriguing. However, I felt a little bit let down by the ending. I wanted it to be something more, something darker. Maybe that’s a little disturbing!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

This wasn’t my favourite Cat Clarke book, but it was still a fabulous, quick read!

Beware That Girl

Beware That Girl

How did I get it?:
Sent to me via Hot Key Books/Bonnier, in return for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Kate O’Brien has always been known as the scholarship kid, running away from a terrible past and overcoming obstacles, some more sinister than others. She’s determined to make a better life for herself. She deserves it. And at the elite Waverly school, Kate is willing to do whatever it takes to climb the social ladder and land her spot at Yale.

There’s one girl in particular that catches Kate’s eye. Olivia Michelle Sumner, all born blonde and rich and just messed up enough for Kate to latch on to. As for Olivia, she’s a damaged girl, looking to be mended. She finds something promising in Kate. A study buddy. A best friend. A sister she never had. But even a vulnerable girl like Olivia has her own dark past to contend with.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he manages to woo the whole student body, paying particular attention to Olivia – an affair she very much wants to keep to herself, especially from Kate. And as a man who knows just how to get what he wants, Kate realises that Mark poses a huge threat, in more ways than she is willing to admit.

A deeply twisted YA novel that will have you guessing until the very last line.

Thoughts:

This book immediately caught my eye, as I’m really into YA and specifically dark YA reads. Beware That Girl wasn’t exactly what I expected. I wanted it to be more thrilling and twisted than it was, but that’s perhaps looking at it from an adult perspective.

Beware That Girl centres around two girls Kate and Olivia. Kate has has a horrific upbringing and is now trying to make her way in the world. She’s had plenty of scholarships and is now socialising amongst the elite to hopefully fast track her way to Yale. Her dream. Kate befriends Olivia, who is incredibly rich but very damaged. Both girls have secrets they’re hiding. Mark Redkin joins the staff at their school and is incredibly charming. He ‘befriends’ staff and children. Olivia is absolutely besotted with him and their relationship becomes another secret to hide. Kate also finds out that Mark is a threat to her secrets. The story is full of secrets galore.

If you’re into a Gossip Girl vibe then I think you might enjoy this book. It’s totally got that spoilt rich kid with lots of drama in it. There’s a lot of calculating moves and some back-stabbing. The writing itself is good but I wished for some more character development. As I mentioned, this genre is usually my type of thing which is why I totally wanted to pick up a copy. I did enjoy reading this book and it didn’t take me long to read, but I was left feeling underwhelmed by the story as a whole.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! – I don’t think this book will appeal to everyone, but I think it’s worth trying, especially if you’re into Gossip Girl. 

It kept me reading, but isn’t a story that will stick with me for a long time!

 

The Last Beginning (The Next Together #2)

The Last Beginning (The Next Together, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously read by the same author:
The Next Together

Synopsis:

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

Thoughts:

Oh my goodness, Lauren James’ debut The Next Together blew me away when I read it. I really didn’t expect to like it as it isn’t my usual thing. However, I gave it a go and ended up loving it. I wasn’t sure whether The Last Beginning would live up to my expectations, but it really did!

In The Last Beginning, we follow Clove Sutcliffe who is determined to find her long lost relatives. Katherine and Matthew seemed to have disappeared from the world, with no-one able to find them. Clove doesn’t know where to start looking for them, because they appear to have been reincarnated at several key points in history. Clove wants to find out the connection between them all and discover who Ella is…

I really liked Clove as a character, although I can imagine that she might get on some reader’s nerves. She does make some pretty stupid decisions- one particularly big one which I won’t spoil. However, I think she had likeable qualities and I enjoyed reading about her adventures.

This book is so well written. As I mentioned, I really liked the author’s debut, so I was cautious about approaching this one. I need not have been. It was an incredibly unique story, just like its predecessor. I loved how the story was told through articles, emails etc. It wasn’t just about the prose. It’s little things like that, that make a book stand out compared to others in its genre.

The story is so carefully considered. There are bits in The Last Beginning that makes sense of what happened in The Next Together. It’s just so clever! I love it when a duology is so thoughtfully planned like this must have been. Really, I bow down to Lauren James.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic solid end to a wonderful duology that I absolutely adored!

The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Thoughts:

If you know how much I loved Becky Albertalli’s first book, Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, then you’ll realise how much I was looking forward to reading more from Becky. I think this book has a lot to live up to as Becky’s debut was so well loved. Now, for me, it wasn’t quite as good as Simon but it was pretty damn close. This book cements Becky as one of my favourite writers in the YA genre. Like Simon, this book is so diverse which I absolutely adore. Yet, its diversity didn’t feel contrived in any way. It’s not throwing these characters in just for the sake of it, they make sense. I love that!

The Upside of Unrequited centres around a character called Molly. Molly lives with her mums and her twin sister Cassie. Cassie is confident and has a girlfriend. Molly is introverted and suffers with anxiety. Molly feels like she’s being left behind whilst her sister, cousin and friends move on in their love lives. Molly has always had crushes, but wasn’t entirely sure if anyone would love her. She’s shy and overweight- she doesn’t want anyone to see her naked. There are two guys that Molly is interested in…or thinks she’s interested in. It’s all a little confusing for her. Throughout the course of the story, we see Molly grow so much. She has to make some decisions and decide whether to let someone in.

The romance in this book is incredibly cutesy. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy into it, but it didn’t take me long to be sucked into it. I adore Becky’s writing. It’s so easy to devour. Her character development is 10/10. Her stories are so positive, so diverse and incredibly relatable. You don’t need to read Simon to enjoy this book, but I do highly recommend both books!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic sophomore novel from Becky Albertalli. Cute, relatable and easy to read!