Words In Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue

How did I get it?:
Netgalley- thanks to Hatchette Children’s Books

Synopsis:

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. 
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

Thoughts:

I had heard such good things about this book that I was almost worried to start reading it. That dreaded hype monster can get around sometimes and I was nervous that it might capture this book. I needn’t have worried though. It was a fantastic, easy to read book. It both broke my heart and warmed it at the same time!

First things first, this book is about BOOKS. A book about books. A sure way to a bookworm’s heart. It centres around Henry and Rachel who were best friends. Henry’s family own a second hand book shop. Rachel moves away and doesn’t keep in touch with Henry. After a terrible event, Rachel is back in town working at the bookshop and grieving at the same time. Books and letters bring Henry and Rachel together once again. It is just so precious.

There’s a lot to love if you’re a book lover in this story. There are so many book references as expected. It quite often brought a smile to my face when I came across a title that I knew. I loved that there was a nod to writing in books, annotating and leaving messages. I struggle to do that myself but I think it’s such an adorable idea. Conversations about books with like-minded people? Yes please! I loved that there was a section of the bookstore for writing letters and putting them into books for others to find. Just so sweet!

I really enjoyed most of the characters in this story. I say most because Henry frustrated me a bit at times, so hung up on someone else who really wasn’t worth the time. My favourite characters were Rachel and Henry’s sister George. I loved how the characters were complex. Rachel was struggling with grief and finding it hard to keep on living. George was cautious and holding back. There was also no insta-love in this story which gives it a huge thumbs up for me. That’s not to say there was no romance, but the romance that was included was definitely slow burning. I was also very surprised that I enjoyed the romance because… love triangles. Urgh, not my favourite thing. However, I didn’t mind them in this book.

I think this book has a lot of heart. In less than 300 pages, I really got to know the characters. I was rooting for my favourites to find happiness and begin to move on. All of the characters experienced tough times, it wasn’t easy going at all for them. I loved reading about them and would highly recommend this book, especially if you’re into YA fiction.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fabulous read!

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Replica (Replica #1)

Replica (Replica, #1)

How did I get it?:
It was a gift from my sister, Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Panic

Synopsis:

Lyra

From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.

But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.

Gemma

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April.

But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.

Two girls, two stories, one novel.

While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.

Thoughts:

I have read a few books by Lauren Oliver now although I’ve only reviewed one on the blog. I was so intrigued by the concept of Replica. Two separate stories that come together to make one. I was pretty much sold on that concept alone. I also loved the idea of it not being alternate chapters. It was one point of view and then the next. I was intrigued. It took me a while to get around to this book, but when I did, I was pleased I did. It took me a while to really invest in the story. When I had got engrossed, I really couldn’t put it down. It doesn’t matter whose story you start with, but I personally started with Lyra.

Lyra was born at Haven Institute. She interacted with doctors, nurses and replicas. Lyra was clever though. She learnt how to read and yearned for affection. When Lyra escapes after an attack of Haven, Lyra starts to realise what exactly Haven was doing to her. Gemma, meanwhile, has always been protected by her parents as she was a sickly child. Gemma rebelled against this protection and went away to search for answers about the secrets that her parents were keeping. There are some amazing supporting characters in Replica too. I loved Gemma’s friend Alice in particular.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the story as it is one with quite a few twists and turns. Both sides of the story have some clues towards the other character’s journey. It’s such a lovely reading experience when both stories meld together to find out what has been happening. I personally preferred reading Gemma’s story, but that’s not to say Lyra’s isn’t interesting. It is! It’s just I connected more with Gemma.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn’t sure if I’d read the next one, but as I got into it, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the story and I’m definitely intrigued to see what’ll come next!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful read that captured my attention despite it being over 500 pages!

Bad Romance

Bad Romance

How did I get it?:
It was a present from my sister, Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape. 

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Thoughts:

Oh my goodness. This book was absolutely incredible. I had high expectations for this book. I really did. I love Heather’s writing, but this book was something else. I think it’s such a powerful read that I wish was more widely read. I might as well just end this review here and just say BUY IT BUY IT READ IT READ IT!… but I think you need more convincing than that.

Bad Romance centres around Grace who has a pretty tough home life. Her stepfather scares her and her mother’s OCD makes Grace’s life incredibly hard. Grace is constantly doing jobs for her stepfather and scrubbing away making sure everything is super clean for her mother. Grace wants to escape her life. She wants to direct in NYC. She certainly has big dreams. She then meets Gavin. He’s totally gorgeous and talented. Grace can’t believe her luck. However, poor Grace actually finds herself in a controlling relationship. Grace and Gavin fall in love quickly and deeply and before she knows it, Grace is trapped in a dangerous relationship…

I love how Bad Romance is told. It recalls what has happened in the relationship with Gavin. Right from the start, the reader knows it’s not good news, but she slowly tells us the downfall of the relationship. Oh my goodness, it was such an intense read. It’s not easy to read but at the same time it was easy to keep turning the pages, desperate for Grace to escape from her toxic relationship and rubbish life.

Grace is an adorable character. She puts up with so much crap from her family. It was easy to see why she fell for Gavin’s advances so quickly. She just wanted to be loved. He was her hero, helping her get away from her family and it was easy to see why she was taken by him. I loved that she had strong friendships and I loved her theatre adoration. Even though we didn’t see Grace’s sister so much, it was nice to know she had that support system there as well. It was so tough to read about Grace’s experiences with Gavin and her stepfather because I was rooting for her to have her happy ending. I really grew to care for her over the course of the story.

I think this book is so vital because it sends a warning about how easy it can be to get into an unhealthy relationship. Gavin made my skin crawl. He really did. I hated how he made Grace feel and how he controlled her so much that she wasn’t even allowed to be friendly towards her male friends. He also affected her dreams. Grr, Gavin made me mad!

I will remember this book because I think it’s such an important, educative read. It will stay with me for a while.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

An incredible, intense read about a very dangerous relationship!

Ready To Fall

Ready to Fall

How did I get it?:
Sent from publisher, many thanks to them!

Synopsis:

When Max Friedman’s mother dies of cancer, instead of facing his loss, Max imagines that her tumor has taken up residence in his head. It’s a terrible tenant–isolating him from family, distracting him in school, and taunting him mercilessly about his manhood. With the tumor in charge, Max implodes, slipping farther and farther away from reality. Max is sent to the artsy, off-beat Baldwin School to regain his footing. He joins a group of theater misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet and slowly becomes friends with Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, an edgy upperclassman who refuses to let go of the things he loves. For a while, Max almost feels happy. But his tumor is always lurking in the wings–until one night it knocks him down and Max is forced to face the truth, not just about the tumor, but about how important it is to let go of the past.

Thoughts:

I was immediately pulled in by the synopsis of this book. I knew it wasn’t going to be a particularly easy book to read because of its subject matter. I thought this book was an incredibly emotional read, but it was so compelling at the same time.

In Ready To Fall we are introduced to Max who is in a bad way after losing his mother to cancer. He’s not doing well at school, distancing himself from everyone and is also utterly convinced that his mother’s tumour has transferred over to his brain. The reader finds themselves completely urging Max to reach out and get some support but he is so damaged by grief. Gradually, Max begins to learn how to move on with his life after starting a new school, making new friends and opening up to one of the teachers. I appreciated how slowly Max stated to heal. It was realistic and made the book more believable.

This is the first time that I’ve read Marcella Pixley’s writing. I very much enjoyed her writing style. I found myself both sympathising with Max and rooting for him to speak out and get help. I feel like she perfectly portrayed Max’s grief and his confusion/worry over ‘his’ tumour. I thought this was a highly original way to demonstrate how Max was dealing with his loss. I also felt for Max’s father, who was clearly struggling as well but trying to hold things together for Max.

The only reason I didn’t rate this book any higher was because I didn’t really buy into the relationship in this story. I felt like it was a little unnecessary! That said, this book is well worth reading for its unique take on grief.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

This is not an easy read, but it’s definitely worth a read purely for its unique take on grief!

They Both Die At The End

They Both Die at the End

How did I get it?:
It was a present from my sister Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
More Happy Than Not
History Is All You Left Me

Synopsis:

When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression. 

Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run. 

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love… 

Thoughts:

I have been slowly making my way through Adam Silvera’s books. I absolutely lapped up his second book History Is All You Left Me so I was super excited to get a copy of this book at Christmas time. I decided I needed to read it ASAP so it leapt its way over books on my TBR list. I’m glad I made time for this book because although it broke my heart, I thought it was a pretty incredible read.

They Both Die At The End is about two guys that receive a call telling them that they’re going to die that day. Can you even imagine that happening? The thought terrifies me. Mateo is a quiet boy who spends a lot of time inside. His father is currently in a coma. He doesn’t want to leave his father, his friend and his goddaughter.  Then there’s Rufus, who has lost his entire family and his girlfriend. As he was beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend he got the call… Mateo and Rufus end up finding each other through an app and start to live their last day to the full. They never expected to fall for each other though…

I can see that there are problematic things about this book, if you really stop to analyse it, but I absolutely was heartbroken and moved by this story which is why I still rated it 5 stars. One of the problems that I’m just thinking about now is why people got calls about their death. How did people know? It confuses me, but I’m letting that one go because the rest of the book is just awesome.

Although this is sad, moving read there’s definitely so much happiness within its pages which made me very happy. The love between Mateo and his best friend was heart warming. I also loved Rufus and his gang. Friendships are so important and this book had them in abundance. I knew there was going to be a sad ending, the title gives that away. When I got close to the ending, I really, really didn’t want to know what was going to happen to them both. In fact, I tweeted:

I think the characters are what made this book for me. They were so well crafted. Both Mateo and Rufus were incredibly moving characters. I loved them both for different reasons. I adored how Mateo was so cautious and I loved how Rufus could bring him out of his shell, but still let Mateo be Mateo. They’re definitely characters that I wanted to be together. ❤ They were just the sweetest. I loved how it didn’t feel like an instalove situation. I guess it is, if you take it in the scale of one day, but it wasn’t love at first sight. It developed over hours of getting to know each other. It was believable and oh so raw.

There’s something so special about Adam Silvera’s writing. His characters are complex and his story lines are completely captivating. I have to come expect a wonderful read when I pick up an Adam Silvera book and I’m yet to be proved wrong.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

I absolutely adored this diverse, heart breaking read. Be prepared to feel all of the emotions!

Wing Jones

Wing Jones

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

Thoughts:

I had heard a lot of good things about Wing Jones from around the blogosphere, so I thought it was about time that I finally got around to it. I mean, I’ve had it for over a year, it was surely time to give it a go? I thought the story was incredibly sweet and found there was a lot to like about Wing Jones. 

The story centres around Wing Jones who isn’t the most popular girl. She has an interesting family with a grandmother from China and another from Ghana. (A tick for the representation in this book! 🙂 ) After something awful happens in her family, Wing discovers a talent for running that she didn’t know she had. Wing’s new found talent could help out her family but it also could prevent other things happening…

I enjoyed the story overall and think it’s such an easy to read book. I like how it addresses the racism that Wing experiences, it never shies away from it. It’s awesome that Wing isn’t a perfect looking athlete. This totally should be represented more. I loved Wing’s family and kind of wished we had heard more about their plot lines. I appreciated the slow burn romance and found it to be believable. I loved that the story was bittersweet and had some touching family moments amongst tragedy. It’s real to life and I appreciate that.

Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the magical realism. I adore magical realism, it’s that inner child in me that makes me enjoy working with children! I feel like it added to the plot line and made it different to other YA contemporary reads.

I really enjoyed reading about Wing but I have to admit she frustrated me as a character sometimes. I totally understood that she felt alienated from her peers after being picked on by a girl at school. However, even though she’s close to her brother and his friends she never reaches out to them at school. That confused me. I was also a little disappointed that the reader doesn’t tend to find out much about the aftermath of the tragedy.

All in all, I enjoyed Wing Jones. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a fabulous book with fabulous representation. Worth reading!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A fabulous YA debut with very ‘real’ characters!

The Secret History Of Us

The Secret History of Us

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Olivia wakes up to realize she doesn’t remember. Not just the accident—but anything from the last four years. Not high school. Not Matt, the guy who is apparently her boyfriend. Not the reason she and Jules are no longer friends. Nothing.

That’s when it hits her—the accident may not have taken her life, but it took something just as vital: her memory. The harder she tires to remember things, the foggier everything gets, and figuring out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.

But then there’s Walker. The guy who saved her. The one who broke her ribs pumping life back into her lungs. The hardened boy who keeps his distance despite Olivia’s attempts to thank him.

With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t even remember living. 

Thoughts:

I have read a few books now by Jessi Kirby as you can see from my ‘previously reviewed’ section of this blog post. I’d consider myself a fan of her writing. I think she’s got an incredibly easy to read writing style. I actually ordered this book without knowing what it was about. I knew it would be a decent read and that’s exactly what it was.

The Secret History Of Us is about a girl named Olivia who can’t remember the last 4-5 years of her life due to a car accident. Liv was pulled from the river and resuscitated after her car went off a bridge. Liv wakes up in hospital not knowing what had happened to her. She was diagnosed with amnesia and had to begin to find out who she was once more. After some time, Liv realises she was keeping secrets from those close to her. The truth starts to unravel and Liv has to learn how to leave the past in the past and move on with her future.

I enjoyed reading this book and thought it was incredibly easy to read. It doesn’t have the most ground breaking plot, so if you’re looking for an exciting, original read then it wouldn’t be for you. However, if you’re looking for a cosy, well written book to read between heavier reads then I would totally suggest this one.

I really enjoyed the character of Liv. I also liked that Liv’s family were incredibly supportive. Her parents and her brother were there for her and that’s lovely to see in a YA novel when often the family can be rather absent.  I was really intrigued by the character of Walker and wish we had seen more from him. In fact, that is the reason why I didn’t rate this book 4 stars. I wanted more from Walker and wish we’d have got that.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A lovely story, I just wanted more from the ending!