Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This is probably THE MOST topical book to read about right now. After the release of the TV show, and all the problems that came with it (seriously, research the well-deserved uproar about the representation of depression and suicide) this book has been getting a lot more attention. And yes, I was desperate to read it to see how it all matched up, and nervous, too, that the portrayal would be potentially triggering or harmful. You can’t avoid it. While I’m sure the message of the book isn’t to condone revenge suicide, or suggest that bullying others is the best response to being bullied yourself, I was so aware that those are things you could take away from it. Keeping all that in mind, here are my thoughts.  Continue reading “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher”

Top 5: Books as Event Themes!

Maddie: Neither Bee or I are really party people. The closest we’ve got to a book party is listening to Hailee Steinfeld while we read.  This Top Five Wednesday theme encourages us to think outside the box to create the perfect themed get-together and a couple of books instantly jump to mind!

First, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I’m not suggesting that we all sit around and write letters to past crushes, but can you imagine the aesthetic of the party? It would be pastel confetti, tea dresses and homemade baked goods galore. We’d make each of the sisters’ favourite cookies and then play the ninja-warrior-hide-and-seek-tag game from the second book. Now that’s the kind of party I’d attend in a heartbeat.

Next, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. Everyone would be claimed by their godly parent, when they arrived, with a fun personality quiz. Then we’d play Capture the Flag. (I just like parties with games, okay?) If there was some real planning involved, we’d stage a quest to find…something. Or go in a maze.

Continue reading “Top 5: Books as Event Themes!”

(Spoiler) Review: Aurabel by Laura Dockrill

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I first heard that there was going to be a sequel to one of my favourite books, Lorali, at an event that Laura Dockrill did in the spring. Since then, Aurabel has been one of my most anticipated releases, as the first book left me on quite the cliffhanger. In order to discuss everything, I’ll have to spoil some of the events, but don’t worry, asterisks will warn you!  Continue reading “(Spoiler) Review: Aurabel by Laura Dockrill”

(Spoiler) Review: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Lisa Heathfield has quickly become one of my auto-read authors. I’m sure that no matter what she writes, I’ll read it. She’s really nailed this odd balance between intriguing and creepy – a vibe I don’t get from any other author. From her previous books, Seed and Paper Butterflies, I should have been expecting something with a darker edge. But, Flight of a Starling called out to me as a new take on The Little Mermaid. It’s not a retelling, but there are definitely strong and unavoidable links between the two. When we did get to the plot twist, I wasn’t shocked so far as confused. So, let’s discuss.  Continue reading “(Spoiler) Review: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield”

Review: The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Whenever we hear about a book with twin protagonists, we’re desperate to get our hands on it. Everyone loves to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and it’s just fascinating to see how authors think of the relationship between twins and if it measures up to our experiences. The Opposite of You was a really great read if you’re looking for a book that understands the strong connection between sisters…but only fuels the fire that twins have been trying to extinguish for all eternity that we can’t literally read each other’s minds. Still, if magical realism is the best way to communicate extreme closeness, we’ll accept it this once! 😉  Continue reading “Review: The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan”

Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

There’s always a lot of pressure that can come along with a Breakfast Club reference. It’s literally right there on the cover: ‘a geek, a jock, a criminal, a princess’. And although the characters from the 80s classic were way more than their cliched labels suggested, I wondered if Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate and Addy would prove that there is no box to be put in. I couldn’t be more pleased to say that the characters are what make this book amazing and you all know I love a good murder mystery, so that’s saying something. Continue reading “Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus”

Review: Countless by Karen Gregory

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

We’ve seen a bit of hype about this book going around the UKYA twitter-sphere, and so were really looking forward to reading it as soon as it came up on NetGalley. It’s a story of love, dependence and pressure, with a bitter sweet edge that’s guaranteed to make you feel something by the end. Let’s talk about the pros and cons!
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Hedda is young and suffering from an eating disorder without the support of her parents. She’s living in a council flat, struggling for cash, and having to go to therapy to talk through her issues. Recently, her best friend died because of her anorexia, and Hedda is still dealing with the repercussions of that disaster. Something she really didn’t need in her life were more complications, but, surprise!, she’s also pregnant.

Continue reading “Review: Countless by Karen Gregory”

Review: But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

I requested this book having no idea that it was a companion to Estelle Laure’s YA debut, This Raging Light. This book focuses on Eden, and what happens to her when she wakes up from a coma after the tragic accident at the end of TRL. Because it had been a year since I read the first book, it took me a while to clock on to the fact that I already knew who Eden was, to a certain extent, but what I loved the most was how both she and I got to know her better as the book went on, and as she discovered new meaning in life. But Then I Came Back focuses on some of my favourite things: ballet, mystery and contemplation of the afterlife. I’m fascinated by books that touch on these subjects individually, so to find one that fit them all together was delightful!  Continue reading “Review: But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure”

Goodbye Days Playlist Blog Tour!

31575528Today, Bee and I are lucky enough to get to celebrate one of my favourite books of the year, by one of my favourite authors ever, Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. As part of the GD Playlist Blog Tour, Jeff has picked five songs that speak to the book in some way.

Today’s song is Avalanche by Leonard Cohen!

Jeff Says: This song is mentioned specifically in Goodbye Days. It’s not the brightest spot of realism in the book, since it’s the rare teenager in 2017 who’s going to be super into Leonard Cohen. But still. I had to include the song there and here. I couldn’t tell you exactly why this song is so emblematic of grief for me, but it is. The lyrics don’t seem to have any direct connection to grief, but that’s ok, because grief is often irrational anyway. The imagery of an avalanche is so powerful and consuming. It has no regard for what’s in front of it. Nothing can stop it. It covers you up so you can’t breathe. This is what grief feels like.

Goodbye Days is a really powerful book. It’s saturated with grief, and sometimes that’s overwhelming. Emotions are going to pour out of you whether you can help it or not. Just the concept of recreating a loved one’s favourite activities makes me want to tear up, let alone actually doing it. But, I really like the emphasis the book places on celebrating life, and sharing stories. It’s sensitive, heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, to know that you can find friendship anywhere.

A Maddie and Bee Goodbye Day would be identical, just like us. There’d be a take-away reading list of all our favourite books, a visit to the library, a screening of our favourite Disney Channel Original Movies and Mary Kate and Ashley’s ‘Winning London’ from back in the day, with colourful wool so people can knit while they watch.

What would your Goodbye Day look like?


Jeff Zentner.jpegJeff Zentner is the author of both The Serpent King (2016) and Goodbye Days (2017) and can be found on Twitter and his website!

Be sure to check out the other spots on the tour which can be found on the graphic in the side bar!

Review: One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

31322309One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 288
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

As the last weekend in the UK was obscenely hot by normal standards, my mind instantly gravitates towards ice-cream, sunglasses and contemporary romances. One Italian Summer gave me that the exam-free vibe (that’s still out of reach for another month, *crycry*) and made me crave a European holiday. (Soon, soon!)

Keris Stainton’s last YA release, Counting Stars really impressed me for it’s representation of teenage life, and I felt One Italian Summer had the same strengths, which was a really good sign. Continue reading “Review: One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton”