Monday, March 14, 2016

MINI REVIEWS #2 - BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS by Sara Barnard & THE LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Beautiful Broken Things
by Sara Barnard
Publisher - Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date - February 25 2016
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

My Review 
Beautiful Broken Things was an amazing debut novel. I read this in September of last year as part of the MyKindaBook book club event that a bunch of went too. We met Sara and Harriet (debut author of The Square Root of Summer). I hasn't forgotten to post a review, I just couldn't find the words until now - which is a good thing. 

Rosie and Caddy who are the epitome of friendship that you have or aspire too. Then when Suzanne is introduced, well you what they say - "too many cooks spoil the broth" or " twos company, threes a crowd". That's how it plays out in the beginning of the book, only for the second half for Caddy to "live a little" part and in this case a little too much and ruining much of the friendships that were pretty much her life worth. You don't often find a book that is solely based on friendship, there is always something else that has to take over the friendship which is usually boys. Not that I have anything against boys in the slightest - but it takes away from the people you have around you, you forget them. BBT brings you back to the origins of who you are you and the relationships and friendships you have including your family. 

What I loved about this book is that it was based purely on the highs and lows of friendship and family. Sara went back to the roots of friendship, what can be the special and unique aspects to your friendship together. But also how toxic it can be when other friends can change you, which isn't how it supposed to be. Between friends like Suzanne and Caddy you think, why? constantly but then its also a lesson to be taught as well. It's a harsh reality but one we need to be faced with sometimes. We've all had some semblance of that in high school and college and I just loved how it really does pertain to any teenager or reader of YA. 

Rating - 4.5




My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher - Electric Monkey
Release Date - January 7th 2016
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them... until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

My Review 
When a Huntley Fitzpatrick book was listed on Netgalley and finally being released in the UK, I was so excited - I haven't read anything by this lady and I have heard nothing but high praise of her contemporary YA. I thought it would be a lot like Katie McGarry or Stephanie Perkins, and in a way it was but if I'm perfectly honest it didn't live up to my expectations and standards of those two authors.

This is your perfect summer read from the beginning, you have the perfect family, the pushy and posh mum, the aspiring and daring sister and then you have the family and the boy next door. All things considered this book has everything. Samantha, watched the family next door since they moved in 10 years ago, now faced with her mum becoming senator and her personal assistant in all mannerisms of the word, she finds solace and adventure by accident when Sam and Jase meet for the first time. Her mum was a nightmare, god I really wanted to slap her half the time. She needed to get her head out of the clouds and actually focus on what is really happening with her daughters. But the Garret family was just so amazing - I felt I was a part of their family when I read through Sam. There relationship and their outcomes of family life and of life in general was so special to learn and read. 

As a first novel from Huntley Fitzpatrick, - I loved it! But he problem for me was that I read them too late, what do I mean? - well if I read this when it first came out in 2012, my views might be different, but I found it cliche, too cliche even for me. I wouldn't usually say this but it was simnilar in a lot of ways and I think that's what disappointed me a little. Your thinking this is quite the negative review, but it's a mistake on my part. I've read so much contemporary romance, that I think to myself when reading this "It's already been done." That why it knocked a bit off my rating but I will continue to read her novel when they come out. Fear not, this hasn't deterred from her writing because I will always love a contemporary romance like this. 

Rating - 3.5

Thursday, March 03, 2016

MINI REVIEWS #1 - THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman & PLUS ONEbyElizabeth Fama






Hi Everyone. It feels like it's been a while. I haven't really solidly been blogging for a while... I've been ill which has taken me a while to get back up and running. I've been pretty good over the last year not to get a cold or anything until now. Typical. Then some personal issues as well has taken presidencie the last couple of weeks too. I've read some brilliant books but just wanted to do a short review rather than a long one.


The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)
by Alison Goodman
Publisher - Walker Books
Release Date - January 21st 2016
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

London, April 1812. Eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall is on the eve of her debut presentation to the Queen. Her life should be about gowns and dancing, and securing a suitable marriage. Instead, when one of her family's housemaids goes missing, Lady Helen is drawn to the shadows of Regency London.

There, she finds William, the Earl of Carlston. He has noticed the disappearance, too, and is one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of powerful demons that has infiltrated every level of society. But Lady Helen’s curiosity is the last thing Carlston wants—especially when he sees the searching intelligence behind her fluttering fan. Should Helen trust a man whose reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her headstrong sense of justice lead them both into a death trap?

In The Dark Days Club, internationally best-selling author Alison Goodman introduces readers to a heroine who is just as remarkable as Eona—and yet again reinvents an establlished literary genre, making it her own.
My Review 

Raised by her aunt and uncle, Lady Helen is being presented into society, yet her family is tarnished but her mother and father going against the crown and drowned at sea. But when Lady Helen starts seeing an aura around her made, she finally realises that something strange is happening to her - her senses sharpened, her growth of speed and agility, and her increase of strength. Only a distant cousin of her uncles knows all the answers that she is seeking... Lord Carlston. 

I read this a long time ago and only now has it taken me review it. I absolutely loved this book. Whilst it took a while to get into, I found that the first half was about the world building and setting and describing a regency outlook. But once we caught up with main characters towards the second half, we were on a roll. Lady Helen is such a strong and likable heroine, she has everything that you want in a female character. She basically kicks ass of the debutantes of YA. She has class and standards of a young woman, yet has the stature of being a formidable demon slayer. Her relationship with Lord Carlston was very interesting. He has quite a reputation, we see some signs of a deeper connection between Lady Helen and Lord Carlston, but that is all... I'd like to know where this will go. I'm intrigued but his character too, I really couldn't pin point his age, he seemed young, but then far too old and mature for his age. Almost as if he lived longer than his years. 

The Dark Day's Club had class, danger, etiquette, hidden romance, scandal, and demons. What more could your really ask for....I really can't wait to continue this trilogy. It's the next Shadowhunters. I just discovered on Alison's GR that she describe this as "Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy in English high society", she couldn't be more right! 
Rating - 5
  
Plus One (Plus One #1)
by Elizabeth Fama
Publisher - Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date - April 8th 2016
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law.

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge--a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays, who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol concocts a plan to kidnap her newborn niece--a Ray--in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. Sol's violation of the day/night curfew is already a serious crime, but when her kidnap attempt goes awry, she stumbles on a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population. Sol escapes the authorities with an unexpected ally: a Ray who gets in her way, a boy she might have hated if fate hadn't forced them on the run together--a boy the world now tells her she can't love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama's Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.
My Review 

We have two sides to a coin - we have the Smudges who work and live at night and then we have the a Rays who, you guessed it, live in the day. Sol is a Smudge, her grandfather is terminally ill and her brother who has recently got married is having a baby. Her grandfather's wish is to see this baby before he dies. So Sol has to kidnap her to fulfill his wish. What she didn't predict is that a Ray would help her and a conspiracy would unfold in the meantime.

A lot like The Dark Days Club, I found that the first part of book was largely based on the concept and world building of the novel. At times, I was hesitant to continue hence why I'm not surprised that there is a few DNFs against this book. However, I persevered with it and the second half was well worth it - the pace of the book grew, relationships built, tensions multiplied, suspense and family feuds. It had it all! Sol was a little irritating at first, I found that although she was quite the troublemaker, she was honest about it. She knew she wasn't the golden child like her brother, but what I admired was that she stayed with her grandfather, and that's what counts. Her reason that unfolded this novel, was pure and inspiring - that's what I loved. D'Arcy - the Ray was quite the opposite, they regard Smudges as people beneath them, to me in his character in the beginning made him quite unlikeable, he was bit of a pompous git and a mummy's boy if I'm honest. First impressions aside, I found that his character developed, I find myself liking him even more when you knew more about him, his family. There is more to him that meets the eye - he for me was the image of Fama's "complex, human characters" which I enjoyed immensely. 

When this was picked as January's Booklcub read I was thrilled I wanted the inside to be just as beautiful as the cover. I mean look at that cover...gorgeous right. What I found was that I was surprised me and it is one author that I will look out for in the future.

Rating - 4