Tag Archives: love

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead might actually be the best book I’ve read this year: and I don’t think I can even do the book justice. About a week ago, I picked the book up again, and I reread it. I’m in the middle of my second or third reread now… It’s just amazing, and you can tell it’s a pretty special book, because I don’t think I’ve gone back to reread a book so quickly.

Published 1st May 2014 by Hot Key Books.

20703051Goodreads Synopsis: It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person – any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died young, and so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people – Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart… it’s like she can’t stop. And she’d certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it’s like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time – and how her family has shattered since May died.

But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can’t keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won’t be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.

My Review: Love Letters to the Dead completely blew me away. It’s nothing less than an absolutely stunning début novel- there aren’t actually many words that can do this story justice, I think. It was emotional, captivating, and beautifully written.

Love Letters to the Dead is written entirely in what the title suggests. Protagonist Laurel is starting a new chapter of her life, and at the same time, is still grieving for her sister, May. She pours her riveting, moving life story, and everything that she can’t say to anyone else, into letters to Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, and Judy Garland, to name a few people. Each and every letter is heart-wrenchingly powerful, and I found tears welling up reading most of them. Ava Dellaira has a fresh, gripping writing voice. It’s going to captivate anyone who reads this, I’m sure!

The romance in this book was heartbreaking, and heart-warming at points. It was beautifully told. Laurel’s relationships with characters in this book was mesmerising. I can’t say who she falls for, but I will say that the love story was a roller coaster and I couldn’t close the book. What touched me the most, though, was the story between two supporting characters. It deserved its own book; it was really unforgettable and emotional.

We get to know Laurel’s sister, May, really well over the course of the story. It’s quite hard to describe how I felt about May, but she is an unforgettable character. Her bond with Laurel is so memorable and unlike anything I’ve ever read about. Laurel is such a strong protagonist, because as the story progresses, we find out that she’s been through a lot more than we thought she had, and each new event shocked me so much. I felt really close to Laurel, and I loved her personality that really shone through in all of her letters. She’s a new favourite contemporary protagonist, and I really miss reading about her now that I’ve finished the book.

Overall, Love Letters to the Dead was an absolutely amazing début. I was a little apprehensive about starting it because I wasn’t sure how I’d find it… but there was no need to be. Love Letters to the Dead captivated me; Ava Delliara’s story captured me from the beginning and didn’t let me go until the very last page. All of the characters are so well fleshed out and memorable. I completely agree with what Steven Chbosky’s said on the front cover of the book: Ava Dellaira is a bold new literary voice. I’m really hoping to read more from her soon and I can tell Love Letters to the Dead is going to be a book I reread over and over again. It was mesmerising.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Love Letters to the Dead form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts. 

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book review: writing in the sand by helen brandom

Published 1st April 2014 by Usborne.

20957971Goodreads Synopsis: “Amy! Wait till you hear this…”
I hold my breath. 

“What?” I say. 

“Last night someone left a baby on our doorstep.” My heart stops. This is it, I think. Now what do I do?

Sixteen-year-old Amy is used to keeping secrets – about her mum’s illness, her irresponsible sister and her ex-boyfriend. Amy is her mum’s sole carer and every day is filled with tiny battles to achieve the simplest things, from cooking a meal to keeping the house clean, especially when social services come round. No matter how difficult stuff gets, Amy doesn’t want anything to change. But then a shocking discovery turns everything upside-down. 

When a newborn baby is left on her best friend’s doorstep, it becomes the talk of the town, and only Amy holds the key to the baby’s identity. Now she has two choices: tell the truth, or live a lie forever.

My Review: Writing in the Sand is a very poignant, and brutally honest story! It covers themes of love, loss, and family, and I really enjoyed reading it.

The story begins with our protagonist, Amy, who, as she’s sitting her exams, is also experiencing a lot of pressure at home. She has to care for her mother, and she’s torn apart over her ex boyfriend’s migration, and now, a baby has turned up on her best friend’s doorstep and Amy knows who’s left it there, and it’s turning her life upside down.

I really liked the character of Amy, because she felt like such a realistic teenager. I was rooting for her all the way through the story, even though some of the choices she made weren’t the best available! I think she’s going to be well loved by anyone who reads this book!

I was really intrigued by the pretty mysterious plot (Though from a note on the press release I realised everything and AHHH! :s) and all of the débuts I’ve read so far this year have been stunning, so I had really high hopes! The plot deals with a lot of pretty scary themes for a teenagers to be dealing with. I’m really impressed that the début author, Helen Brandom, has written everything so well. I had a little correct idea of the outcome, though wholly, the book is quite unpredictable.

Helen Brandom’s writing is truly great. She’s captured the voice of a teenager so successfully and I really loved the narration!

Overall, I really enjoyed Writing in the Sand. It’s a heart-breaking, but also heart-warming story that deals with complicated relationships, pregnancies, and children who have to care for their less able family members. Riveting and powerful, I think a lot of people are going to find the plot really memorable- as they will also find the protagonist! There was one character I wanted to know so much more about, but, oh well… I would really love to hear much more from Helen in the future. A really great, recommended, contemporary!

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of Writing in the Sand from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: The End of the World as we Know it by Iva-Marie Palmer

Published 6th March 2014 by Hot Key Books.

19208187Goodreads Synopsis: They wanted to party like it was their last night on earth. They just might get their wish….

Meet the four most unlikely heroes ever:

Teena McAuley: Queen Bee, first-class problem solver, resident heartbreaker.
Leo Starnick: UFO conspirator, pizza delivery boy, all-around slacker.
Evan Brighton: Baseball all-star, Teena-worshipper.
Sarabeth Lewis: Straight-A student, weekend hermit, enemy of the colour pink.

When Teena locks Leo, Evan, and Sarabeth in the basement during her biggest party of the year, she doesn’t plan on getting trapped in the Loser Dungeon herself. She can barely imagine a night with these dweebs—let alone a lifetime. But when an alien invasion destroys their entire Midwestern suburb, it looks like these unlikely friends are the last people on earth. Now, it’s up to them to save the world…

My Review: The End of the World as we Know it is a book I’m pretty mixed on! It was a good read- I love funny books and I love books about aliens, and this did have both. I was excited to start it, but from a few pages in I wasn’t sure I was really going to get into it. I don’t think I fully did… The story was pretty hilarious but I just found it a bit… I don’t know… I just didn’t click with it entirely.

I think the main reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped was because of the characters. They’re all very well developed, and they’re classic stereotypical characters of sorts- the slightly geeky one, the goody-goody son of the local Vicar, the rebellious slacking teenage guy, the popular girl who has a bit of a bumpy history with one and hates all of the others. They meet properly by all getting locked in a basement as the apocalypse happens, which I found pretty funny. But it really started annoying me later on in the book, how they all seemed much more focused on their relationships than saving the planet. Okay, it’s meant to be a funny read… but I guess I was in a Sci-Fi mood and wanted more alien action and things!

The plot was really enjoyable. It shouldn’t really be taken too seriously- it’s an epic adventure across a post-alien-invasion town and the weapons that overcome the aliens are stupidly brilliant. I liked Iva-Marie’s writing. It really drew me into the story, even when a character was annoying me a bit! Some parts are a bit silly, but it was definitely a fun read, that made me giggle quite a bit.

Overall, The End of the World as we Know it wasn’t what I was expecting, but fun to follow anyway. The story is a mix of Sci-Fi horror and humour that I found really unique. I liked the development of the characters over the course of the story, but at points they did kind of annoy me… I’d recommend this to fans of contemporary comedies, definitely. I’m really mixed. There were multiple things I disliked but in all, it was a really enjoyable read.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The End of the World as we Know it from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: The Madness by Alison Rattle

Published March 2014 by Hot Key Books.

18482292Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Marnie lives in the idyllic coastal village of Clevedon. Despite being crippled by a childhood exposure to polio, she seems set to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and become a ‘dipper’, escorting fragile female bathers into the sea. Her life is simple and safe. But then she meets Noah. Charming, handsome, son-of-the-local-Lord, Noah. She quickly develops a passion for him – a passion which consumes her.

As Marnie’s infatuation turns to fixation she starts to lose her grip on reality, and a harrowing and dangerous obsession develops that seems certain to end in tragedy. Set in the early Victorian era when propriety, modesty and repression were the rule, this is a taut psychological drama in which the breakdown of a young woman’s emotional state will have a devastating impact on all those around her.

My Review: The Madness was a really haunting, fascinating read. From page one, I was transported to Marnie’s world, and I really loved it. I enjoyed Alison Rattle’s The Quietness last year, so I was really looking forward to her next YA book. I’m really happy it didn’t disappoint!

At first, The Madness seemed just like a historical romance novel (which it is, but, well, it’s much darker as well!). The love story develops well throughout the book, and it all seems quite sweet, until you get to certain points from Noah’s perspective that make you rethink everything you assumed about his feelings for Marnie. The last part of the book was pretty terrifying! Marnie begins to go mad, her thoughts entirely about Noah, and the ending was completely gripping.

Marnie is loveable. She lives by the sea with her Ma and Smoaker, and her Ma runs the famed Sea Cure- which consists of dipping ill women into the water to cure them. She’s disliked by all of the town, because of a certain (scary!) incident that happened and because of her leg, meaning she has to limp. I found it really easy to understand her. Alison Rattle is talented at crafting characters that are really easy to love and that stay in your head long after you finish the book- as also shown in her YA debut.

Told from different perspectives- through third person and Noah’s diary entries, I got a really good insight into both of their personalities. The story seemed very tense all of the way through, and I was completely absorbed! One thing that did confuse me quite a lot, though, is that in the first part of the book, the story is in one person, then that switches to another for the second and final part. I think I understand why that was done, because it really gets inside Marnie’s head as her obsession takes over, but it did take me quite a while to get used to as the language is very different compared to the more formal third person that part one of the book is told in.

Overall, The Madness is a really memorable, haunting but also powerful read. I thought that Alison Rattle’s debut YA novel was pretty dark… but this one is darker in quite a few ways! I think it’ll be big for adult readers as well as YA ones. The characters were so well developed, and so was the setting- I could visualise everything really well and I was left thinking about that ending long after the last page. The only reason that I disliked the book a little is because of the writing style change. It was a good idea, but at the same time, it does take a lot of getting used to and confused me a bit. Really recommended, though, to fans of historical fiction and romance!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Madness from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Mini Reviews: CRUSHER and INCINERATOR by Niall Leonard

I read Crusher a while ago, in January, though I didn’t get to write a review of it! I was sent a copy of the sequel which was released really recently (Thank you, Random House!) and I thought it would be nice to do a joint-mini-review post, reviewing the series so far- Book three, Shredder, will be out soon. Enjoy!

17307328Crusher: By Niall Leonard, published by Corgi in September 2012.

Goodreads Synopsis: The day Finn Maguire discovers his father bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in the murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.
Trawling the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, Finn exposes dark family secrets and faces danger at every turn. But he’s about to learn that it’s the people you trust who can hit you the hardest…

My Review: Crusher was a really, really exhilarating read! I really enjoyed it, for the most part. It’s really shocking, and packed with some brilliant plot twists that keeps the reader completely engrossed. The plot’s very unique, but at the same time, a very gritty urban murder mystery- who killed Finn’s dad with his own award? Though I did enjoy most of the plot, there were a few parts I couldn’t really agree with… I couldn’t really understand Finn’s choices a lot of the time, and I felt some points were a bit rushed. It is a fast paced novel, but I did feel like a lot happened at once, and some bits were… too freaky!

At first, I really liked the main protagonist. Finn was so determined and prepared to tackle his father’s killer. He’s a very realistic teenager- one I think a lot of YA readers will definitely be able to relate to. Then, when he meets the first love interest of sorts in Crusher, I really started to dislike his new attitude- he was so obsessed with her and I hated him for seeming to completely forget about the whole mystery behind his dad…

17612844 Incinerator: (Newest release- just published!) By Niall Leonard, published by Corgi in January 2014.

Goodreads Synopsis: London gang-lord The Guvnor is in hiding, and Finn Maguire has begun a new life running a boxing gym with his old friend and coach Delroy. But when Finn’s lawyer Nicky Hale vanishes overnight with all his money, Finn finds himself in hock to a loan shark with a vicious gang of enforcers. Desperate to track down Nicky and repay his debts, Finn investigates her other clients and soon finds himself engulfed in a web of lies, betrayal, malice and madness, with only his wits and his fists to keep him alive.

My Review: Incinerator was probably my favourite of the two books in the Crusher trilogy so far! I felt that it was very fast paced too, but definitely enjoyed the themes a lot more. It shows that Finn’s developed so much- now trying to get out of the violence, and into business- though that doesn’t work for very long. I really enjoyed the plot of Incinerator- it had me even more hooked than Crusher. Niall Leonard’s writing is really great, and captures the urban setting so well.

I really liked Leonard’s writing, as it’s edgy and gritty, going with the setting and the themes really well. I definitely grew to like Finn Maguire a lot more in this installment as well. Beforehand, in book one, I couldn’t get on with him for a portion of the book. Though, I really liked seeing his character develop a lot in Incinerator. He was even more determined than ever and I’m looking forward to hearing what awaits him in Shredder! 

My Ratings:

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I received Crusher from my dad.

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I received Incinerator from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

Published 30th January 2014 by Tamarind books (A Random House imprint).

13260749Goodreads Synopsis: ‘Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John. His name was John until Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird with the way he kept jumping off things, and the name stuck. Bird’s thick, black hair poked out in every direction, just like the head feathers of the blackbirds, Grandpa said, and he bet that one day Bird would fly like one too. Grandpa kept talking like that, and no one paid him much notice until Bird jumped off a cliff, the cliff at the edge of the tallgrass prairie, the cliff that dropped a good couple hundred feet to a dried-up riverbed below. From that day on, Grandpa never spoke another word. Not one. 
The day that Bird tried to fly, the grown-ups were out looking for him – all of them except Mom and Granny. That’s because that very day, I was born.’

Twelve-year-old Jewel never knew her brother, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Then one night, on her birthday, she finds a mysterious boy sitting in her oak tree. His name is John. And he changes everything.

My Review: Bird is a beautiful book…. there aren’t actually many words to describe it properly and do it justice. It’s a poignant tale about love and loss, and I think it’s going to captivate anybody who reads it.

The story’s completely riveting: Literally right from the first page, where the reader finds out that Jewel was born the day her brother jumped from a cliff, and that their grandfather’s never spoken a word, since. Crystal Chan’s writing is so good, I honestly did have tears in my eyes from the beginning. Chan’s captured the voice of a twelve year old flawlessly. I was sucked right into the story of Jewel, and the complicated relationship with her grandfather and the friendship growing between her and John- a boy who’s staying in the town, who has the same name as her brother.

The plot is flawless- there’s no other way to describe it! Every event was completely unpredictable, and Crystal Chan can make you laugh or cry with every page. The plot is very character driven, exploring the ups and downs of a torn apart family, and focusing on the impact of Jewel’s new friend on her grandfather. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The plot twists are all emotional and shocking, especially the big one about John, Jewel’s friend. I was completely blown away, and I couldn’t stop reading.

Jewel is a character that any reader can instantly fall in love with: She’s so well developed and realistic, and her voice just captured me, and didn’t let me go until the very last page. Her narration is really captivating and she’s probably now one of my favourite contemporary fiction characters. John’s also such good protagonist. Chan made me really mixed on him at points, with those plot twists… but he’s the kind of character you can’t not love!

Overall, Bird is amazing, and a book that I’ll be recommending to everybody I know, regardless of what kind of books they like. The central character were so three dimensional and loveable, I really wanted to read more about them after finishing… I’m pretty sure I’ll be rereading this book! The plot weaves themes of superstition into themes of love and loss, and it’s just beautiful. Bird is moving; more emotional than most books I’ve read this year, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Bird form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Phoenix

By SF Said, published by David Fickling Books.

PhoenixGoodreads Synopsis: THE SUPERNOVA IS COMING . . . ONE BOY ALONE CAN SAVE THE GALAXY!

Lucky thinks he’s an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing – and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him.

Now he’s on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair.

Together, they must find a way to save the galaxy. For Lucky is not the only one in danger. His destiny and the fate of the universe are connected in the most explosive way . . .

My Review: This book kept catching my eye in bookstores, and I was approved for it on Netgalley. I kept putting it off because it was on my kindle and I prefer physical copies! I wanted to buy this to read on paper but in the end, curiosity got the better of me and I started it on my kindle, even though the illustrations have a better effect in physical copies. Even though it probably wasn’t the best reading experience, on a kindle, I feel in love with this story. I’m definitely going to be buying it and re-reading it soon!

Phoenix is about a boy called Lucky, who’s living in a universe torn apart by war. When he almost burns his room down in his sleep, a chain of events starts, pulling him into the conflict between the humans and the Axxa. The plot unfolds really well, and there were some genius twists that kept me guessing at the ending. There’s no way I could have ever predicted the last chapters. They were heartbreaking, yet hopeful, and so beautiful.

The book was full of some breath-taking world building- It was so vivid and realistic, I felt like if I looked out of my window I’d see the starships flying across the skies and the feel the stars singing. It was amazing, how powerful the world was! The plot was action packed and adventurous, yet despite all of the fantastical happenings, the story can be applied to real life. It deals with the effects of war, and unlikely friendships, and I really loved how that’s relatable to loads of situations here in real life. The writing, as well as the illustrations, bring the story to life beautifully. It was so descriptive, but not over-the-top, and generated a lot of powerful imagery. SF Said is really talented at weaving tension into a story, and he made me really feel for the characters.

Lucky is unforgettable. At first, over the first tenth of the book, I was a little unsure of him, because he didn’t seem to be that brave. Though, I think that may have been intended; because Lucky’s development over the story is amazing. His power, though it’s a burden to him, sounds pretty cool! (: Another character that I fell in love with, was Bixa. She’s an Axxa, as part of the starship crew that Lucky joins. She’s really unique and loveable- pretty awesomely kick-butt, too! Her friendship with Lucky was so… CUTE! I loved them, though of course all of the other members of the Axxa crew have a special place in my heart now… (:

Overall, Phoenix is a really amazing novel. I’m so glad I finally thought I’d request and read it. (I blame M at We Sat Down for this new bookish obsession!!) The plot was superbly written, and I immersed myself in the world so easily. I really, really didn’t want to leave it at the end! The characters were all flawless; each has such detailed backgrounds and personalities- I felt I knew them. I did really want to talk about all of McKean’s drawings for the book here, too: But on a kindle they really didn’t look as amazing as they do on paper. Phoenix is on my to-buy list for when I next visit a bookshop though, so I can read it in physical form and experience the illustrations better- they are breathtaking! Anyway- HIGHLY recommended for any sci-fi fans, fantasy fans, etc., out there- and also anybody who wants a new favourite book (:

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Phoenix from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 

Because It Is My Blood

By Gabrielle Zevin, published by Macmillan.

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright, #2)Goodreads Synopsis: 

“Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”- Michael Corleone, The Godfather.

Since her release from Liberty Children’s Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve–and her heart–will be tested as never before.

My Review: *I may accidentally drop spoilers about book one in this series here! You have been warned!* 

What an awesome sequel! I was really worried that this wouldn’t live up to the sheer perfection of the first book, All These Things I’ve Done, but it really did! Because It Is My Blood is a book I’ve been so excited for, all of this year, since I read the first one back in January, and have been impatiently tapping my foot, waiting to read about what Anya Does Next. This book has definitely disproved that statement about Sequels of books not living up to their predecessors. Because It Is My Blood was just as brilliant; a real roller-coaster-ride of a book. It was a perfect blend of thriller, dystopia, and family drama!

Anya was, and still is, one of my favourite female dystopia protagonists. She’s so three-dimensional, and despite living so far off in the future, very relatable. It was very interesting to see what she’d do after the ending of All These Things I’ve Done- as, boy, that was an evil cliffhanger! I loved her just as much in this installment: She’s a very down-to-earth character. I enjoyed following her as she was thrown back in Liberty- a rehabilitation facility for children; then as she escaped, assisted by awesome supporting characters, to Mexico to lie low for a while.

Gabrielle Zevin really played with my emotions in this book! Firstly, Anya’s brother. He was a loveable character in book one, who was then taken away for safety. Oh, was I upset at that- I thought I wouldn’t hear of him in this book! Fortunately, I did, but, I can’t say what happens to him in this book. All I can say is: Gabrielle! That plot twist made me cry and want to throw the book across the room, then made me laugh and do a little happy dance at the end. The author’s also made me learn not to trust any minor character in this book. I’m really scared as to what may happen in book three, now.

The plot was very different, to All These Things I’ve Done! I was ever so slightly annoyed at the fact that another love interest made his way into Anya’s life. I was pretty terrified that that might take over the rest of the book- but, luckily, it didn’t, so yay! The new love interest (Well, I guess he is. It seems that Anya sees him as a friend, but he’s competing with Will a bit, to me) was a very likeable character, though, and he and his family, who run the plantation Anya hides in, opened the gateway to yet more conspiracy theories and drama. I loved that! This sequel was pretty much unpredictable.

Overall, Because It Is My Blood was a really strong sequel to an amazing book. I don’t think I could pick out any major flaws! This series is an amazing thrill ride, and any crime/drama/romance/dystopia loving teen will also love it, I’m very sure. I loved reading more about Anya, and I think the book was great, but too short for me (maybe that’s just because I was so immersed in it, and wanted more!). With some new characters I’ve grown to love, and some old characters I’ve grown to hate (thanks to some double-crossing and plot twists!), I really can’t wait for the next book, which is called In The Age of Love and Chocolate. 

You can check out my review of ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE, HERE!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Because It Is My Blood from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Mini Reviews: All Our Yesterdays and Doll Bones

I’m very behind on netgalley reviews- eek! I’ve decided to catch up on Netgalley titles I’ve forgotten to review, in my mini reviews posts, which may start getting more frequent! Here are two really different books! One covers time travel and sci-fi in a mind-blowing concept; the other an eerie quest to search for answers about a doll that may or may not be entirely made of bones. *ducks behind couch*

All Our YesterdaysALL OUR YESTERDAYS (By Cristin Terrill, published by Bloomsbury)

All Our Yesterdays was, quite simply, mind blowing. The concept was really original and a one-of-a-kind, fresh take on a time travel novel. I was really scared that I’d not like this, maybe because I’d find it too confusing, and I was really afraid I’d be the first of many readers, not to like this. Ah, I was too worried. This book was awesome! I delved into it knowing only that it involved a lot of time travel and action and drama. I was definitely right there. There was never a dull moment in this book: Right from the beginning, when Em finds a note from a version of herself in a different time, telling her she has to kill her best friend if she wants to save the world. I was a little bit confused as to why Em loved Marina so much as first, as I thought she didn’t know her, but then some extremely clever connections were made. *spoiler alert!!!* Marina is Em’s past self. *spoiler over!!!* That was just really clever, and I’ve honestly never seen a  plot twist like it in a book before. Whilst the ending was quite a bit too fast paced for me, I really did love the ending. It’s the kind of last chapter that you have to read over and over again- not because you didn’t understand it, but because it was just so unpredictable and genius that it’s hard to get over it. Just… ahh! Amazing, amazing book. Go find a copy, now!

Doll BonesDOLL BONES (by Holly Black, published by Random House) 

Doll Bones was such a fun, and relatively quick, read, that I’d really recommend to kids and teens alike! Holly Black is an absolutely brilliant author, though before this I’d only read her writing in the Spiderwick Chronicles. I was really glad that I got an ecopy of this book! It wasn’t exactly the story that I’d expected. It turned out differently than I’d guessed it would, but it really was a fun read. Three best friends, Zach, Poppy, and Alice, are whisked away on an adventure to bury a doll to put its spirit (the ghost of the girl its bones were made of) to rest. The whole thing was hugely eerie, and even though it was targeted at quite a young audience, it definitely sent shivers up my spine at some points! The other side to the story was quite unexpected. Really, if you stripped away the horror story and the ghostly aspects, the story was about growing up. Zach’s dad threw his toys away, saying he should stop playing with dolls, and that’s really what sparked their whole expedition. I really liked that aspect of the story, because it was quite emotional, too, seeing how Zach would cope with that on the side of their mystery. The characters were relatable, and the story was well structured, haunting and mysterious… what’s not to love about this?

My Ratings: 

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To All Our Yesterdays

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To Doll Bones (This seems like a low rating… but check out my rating system page and it’s really not! :))

I received both of these titles from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 

More Than This

By Patrick Ness, published by Walker Books.

Apologies to Walker Books UK for such a late review! This was due to school and also the fact that it took me a few days to actually form coherent sentences about this book.

More Than ThisGoodreads Synopsis: A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

My Review: more Than This, quite simply, just blew me away. It’s taken me a while to get round to writing a review, mostly because I really don’t know how to review such an amazing book! Firstly, can I just say: this book is the best book I’ve read this year. No doubt. It’s quite hard to review this not just because of its amazingness. How do I write a review without spoiling this?! More Than This is the kind of book where, if one thing is spoiled, the whole thing is! I’m going to try anyway…

Firstly, Seth. I read the first chapter, then put the book down, and stared at it for a while. The main character dies in the first chapter? What? How does the book go on? Then, in chapter two, Seth’s woken up in a place that looks freakily similar to his childhood home in England. How is he here? Why’s everyone upped and left? The book follows Seth as he tries to figure out how he got to this place. I loved Seth for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I connected with him not entirely because of his personality, but mainly because he’d appeared, lost and confused, in this unexplained world. It was exactly what the author had done to me, really!

As the book progresses, (and I don’t think I can really say how it progresses) I got to know Seth from his ‘original life’ much better, as when he goes to sleep in this empty world, painful memories for him surface. This book is very emotional, mostly at these points. Argh! I’ll spoil it if I say much more. But his early childhood, involving a kidnapping, was terrifying, and I felt like hugging him when his love life was ruined after a friend betrayed him, and his parents discovered he was gay and disapproved. The love life aspect leads to Seth’s death, and Patrick Ness can really play with the reader’s emotions, I can say that. Bring Kleenex.

The plot was just immaculate. I originally guessed that the whole book was Seth, figuring out how he got here and possibly unlocking the reason he came here. While that technically does happen, it most certainly didn’t happen it the way I had guessed! Patrick Ness split this book into three roughly equal parts, and I think I loved the first one the most because it was mainly getting to know Seth’s background, and was very raw and brutally honest. Not that the other parts weren’t. The rest was just as emotional, really, but the first part focuses on Seth more than the others (as some new THINGS- not saying what exactly- enter the story). Each plot twist made me gasp, or put a blank expression on my face and made me go “Whoa, what?!”. More Than This was entirely unpredictable!

The idea behind this book is just genius. It’s original, thought-provoking, questions reality, and I’ve never read anything like it before. Patrick Ness, why?! I really can’t go into this for fear of ruining things. But, the idea is centrally themed around the question, What’s Real and What’s Not? This book made me wonder if what had happened to Seth could possibly happen to me; that I could wake up in a barren landscape due to a mystery behind reality. As much as I thought about things whilst reading the book, after I’d put it down (at stared at a wall for a while wondering what else to do with my life after that ending) I found myself picking it up, hours; days later, just to read parts again because I’d loved this so much!

Overall, More Than This was a really unique book that is absolutely nothing like anything on the YA market at the moment. It stands out from the current dystopia craze at the moment- while, I guess, it is a bit dystopian, it’s nothing like any other in the genre. It’s probably the most original- and my favourite- book that I’ve read this year! More Than This is packed with shocks, emotion, a couple of laughs, thrills, horror, mystery… the lot. It ticked all of the boxes and more, for me. I honestly can’t recommend it enough! I was tempted to make a six hearts on my rating system, reserved for this book. Simply amazing!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of More Than This from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.