June Reads 2020

Hello everyone! Welcome to my June reads of 2020! Since starting back at work, I haven’t had the time to read as much as I wanted to. I’m slowly getting back into a routine and I am going to schedule reading time to make sure I get through all the books I have on my to-read list!

Some of these books have full reviews on my blog and we have some new appearances that I would love to share! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these and your thoughts on them.

Devil’s Mist

Author: Liam Moiser
Released Date: March 2020
Publisher: Matador
Pages: 68
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Paperback Book

Buy the book now! —————

Synopsis

It starts typically enough. A camping trip with a friend’s family, with a campfire to sit around and tell scary stories – except Rosie’s dad says this one is true. According to legend, the house across the lake hosts a strange curse, a missing daughter and a threat that anyone who ventures close will meet the same fate. Rosie and Jenny shrug the story off, but as events escalate, it becomes crystal clear that the curse is real and someone else is the next target. Although they try to deny the truth, a note from an unlikely source confirms their deepest fears. Lies unravel, allies form and the truth about what happened back then threatens to come to light. But one answer remains shrouded, haunting all involved: Will they escape the mist before it comes for them or are they doomed to be lost forever.

I managed to get this copy of Devil’s Mist by Liam Mosier off of Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. I was amazed when a physical copy arrived through the post instead of it being sent to my kindle. Straight away I noticed how incredibly thin this book was, but I was happy as I would not have had time to read a thicker book.

I did enjoy this book but not as much as others. It was a big change from reading books with plot twists and more in-depth characters. It’s perfect if you haven’t read a lot of mystery/thriller books and would like to get into them.

The whole story of the missing girl and the mist is very interesting and I found myself reading more to figure out what had happened to her. However, a few characters just drop into the story towards the end without much context behind them being there. The story as a whole was very interesting to read and I enjoyed it. It could be structured a bit better to make it flow easier to the reader.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Loving You

Author: Leah Busboom
Released Date: July 10 2020
Pages: 174
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Kindle Ebook

Buy the book now! —————

I received this ARC through Hidden Gems. This is a great website and community to read and review books from authors that you may not have heard from.

Synopsis

He’s loved her since the first day they met. She’s afraid to move on.
Max Connor has dated off and on for five years, but no one ever measured up to her. He tried to get over his unrequited love by moving out of state and forgetting her. Now he’s back in Connor’s Grove for good and suddenly there’s nothing standing in the way of loving Maddie except Maddie herself.


Professor Madeleine Henderson was widowed two years ago. When Max approaches her to explore a relationship beyond friendship, she’s terrified at how he makes her feel. Maddie loved her husband, but her attraction to Max is off the charts. He ignites a passion in her that she never expected to experience. Is she brave enough to take a second chance on love?

Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book as it was a very quick read, taking about a day with breaks in between.

The story was a very cute romance between Max and Maddie. Although, this is no straight forward relationship between the two of them. Maddie became a widow 2 years prior to Max coming back to town but she now has to decide if she can let go of her late husband Jack and move on.

Moreover, all the characters present in the book are very likeable and relatable. Although the book isn’t very long, it’s still got a lot of detail to find out about characters past, interests, relationships and much more.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book for anyone who is a lover of romance novels, and may not have a lot of time to sit down and read a big chunky book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Existence of Amy

Author: Lana Grace Riva
Released Date: August 2nd 2019
Pages: 247
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Paperback Book

Buy the book now! —————

Synopsis

Amy has a normal life. That is if you were to go by a definition of ‘no obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead. A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality.

I was asked by the author, Lana Grace Riva, to read her book in exchange for an honest review, and this is one of my favourite books so far in 2020.

It was so easy to read as I loved all the characters and couldn’t wait to see how the story developed. Above all, Amy’s character gives us an insight into the challenges that people diagnosed with OCD and Depression have to deal with every day. This may seem a little dark and sad but it’s a very uplifting story that everybody needs to read.

Read my full review here: The Existence OF Amy By Lana Grace Riva

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Author: Suzanne Collins
Released Date: May 19th 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 540
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardback Book

Buy the book now! —————

Synopsis

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmanoeuvre his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of this book, this is the fourth instalment of the best selling trilogy, The Hunger Games. I have already written a full review on The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes but it is such an amazing and unique story that I had to tell you about it again.

Unlike the other three Hunger Games books, we see the 10th games play out through the eyes of young Snow. We meet new characters, some from the original books and relatives of those from the past years.

In short, I really enjoy reading from Snow’s perspective even though we are heavily influenced to hate him through the first three books. This book is not the same story structure as The Hunger Games so I wouldn’t recommend if that is what you’re looking for. However, if you are curious to see Snow in his prime, how the uprising in Panem truly affects The Capitol and the Districts and how the games were early on, I would highly recommend reading this book.

Read my full review here: The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Let me know in the comments what you read in June!

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The Existence Of Amy

Author: Lana Grace Riva
Released Date: August 2nd 2019
Pages: 247
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Paperback Book

Buy the book now! —————

•talk of mental health, OCD, Depression•

Synopsis

Amy has a normal life. That is if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

Why I Love This Book

“There is no break from my brain”

I was kindly sent ‘The Existence Of Amy’ by Lana Grace Riva in exchange for an honest review. First of all, I can’t put into words how much I love this book. It’s such an easy to follow plot, but it has so much meaning behind it, making you understand the challenges of what some people have to go through on a daily basis.

This book has proudly joined the one-sitter club, taking just over half a day to finish it. It was really refreshing to read a book where the reader doesn’t rely on plot twists to stay engaged. Allowing the reader to genuinely get to know and connect with Amy, the protagonist.

The Story

“Being in my current existence hurts.”

Amy’s journey throughout the book is not easy and sounds immensely exhausting to live. Although we aren’t directly told if Amy is diagnosed with any mental health issues in the beginning, it is clear that she is struggling with something heavier than everyday problems. We see her attempt to battle mundane activities such as leaving the house, catching the bus and socializing with friends. Buy this way of living her brain has created is slowly destroying her life.

I have never suffered from OCD or depression myself, but I know people that do and I believe this is an accurate representation of some of the symptoms that can occur. Even though the book is blunt and straight to the point, it provides a lot of useful information that could help anyone who struggles with mental health themselves.

The Characters

“Sometimes I feel like running. Running fast and never stopping”

I really enjoyed the connection between Amy and all her work colleagues. Each one of them brought a different personality and level of friendship to the surface. Revealing more information about what Amy has to deal with on a day to day basis. She is truly an inspiring character to root for. We see her flourish as the story goes on, pushing herself to do things that she never thought she would be able to do again. Sending an extremely positive message to anyone reading.

As well as Amy struggling with mental health, we start to see how it affects the relationships around her. Her friends/work colleagues play a huge role in her life. Sometimes even being the last thing in her life to keep her going. I love all of the characters in this book because you can see them all individual growing and changing to the people they want to become, not just Amy.

Overall Thoughts

“Look at the joy on their faces. Will I ever experience that again?”

Overall, ‘The Existence Of Amy’ is definitely near the top of my favourite books of 2020 so far. The author writes about mental health in an abrupt way to help readers understand the conflict they have with themselves all the time. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you’re looking for a nice easy read, with a powerful message behind the story, this is the book for you.

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If your an author who needs an honest review for your book, fill out my contact form here

Buy the book now! —————

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Original image to show cover design for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Book Cover Design for ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

Author: Suzanne Collins
Released Date: May 19th 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 540
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardback Book

Buy the book now! —————

Synopsis

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmanoeuvre his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

Original image to show The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on my bookcase.
Why I Like This Book

“Well, as they said, it’s not over until the mockingjay sings.”

I was filled with nervous excitement to start reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. I love The Hunger Games trilogy, but throughout the reader is persuaded to hate President Snow, which I do. So, why would I want to read a prequel all about him? The curiosity to find out what happened during the war and uprisings in Panem, and how it affected Snow made me actually pick this book up and start reading it. I wanted to know what happened for him to carry the games on for 75 years and predominately turn evil. The nostalgia of The Hunger Games is probably what I enjoy most, rather than reading about Snow’s life. So, if you were a fan of The Hunger Games, I would recommend reading this as the whole story revolving around the 10th Hunger Games is very interesting and captivating.

The Story

“The strain of being a full-fledged adult every day had grown tiresome.”

The build-up to the 10th anniversary of the Hunger Games is quite fast-paced. Almost immediately in Collins’ fourth instalment, we are introduced to new information, tributes and fresh ideas to make the games more fun for the viewers. In the book, a new perspective on the games is revealed. We get to sit back and join the voyeurs in the Capital, as opposed to seeing the hunger games we already know.

We follow Snow on his journey through District 12. What seems to be a story about romance and love quickly takes a turn. Murder, destruction and the inner battles Snow struggles with, take up a huge part of the book towards the end. We see the conflict of him wanting to be a good person and wanting to change the failure that his life has become.

The Characters

“Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.”

Who likes Snow? I’ll admit he is a very good villain throughout The Hunger Games trilogy and I’m sure a lot of people are curious about him and how he ended up being so corrupt. Collins’ intention wasn’t to make you feel sorry for Snow, and if it was, I really didn’t. His actions and intentions frustrated me and I almost didn’t want to read on, because I knew he would only make bad decisions. However, I’m glad his character is so consistent and carried on making these bad decisions. Collins wasn’t trying to make him a new person, or coax us into liking him. I really started appreciating his character and understood what made him be the man that he was in The Hunger Games trilogy.

Lucy Gray Baird has to be my favourite character, maybe a lot of you will agree once you’ve read it? She has numerous similarities to Katniss Everdeen and not just the fact that she is the tribute from District 12, extremely clever, and family motivated. The romance that commences during the book is cute but necessary to show us Snow’s true character and abilities.

I got a little spark of joy whenever I read a name I recognised from the original books. Again, it was the nostalgia of seeing some of these characters or their relatives again that made me love reading this book.

The Design

“We’ll get new dreams out there…”

I always take the paper cover off of my hardback books. It looks neater and they always end up falling off for me anyway. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is one of the nicest designs I have seen. The cover is so simple and bright, it is the first book your eyes get drawn to, especially on my bookcase. As well as the cover, the artwork continues throughout the book with the beautiful illustrations of snakes.

Original photo to show page art work of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Page Artwork
Overall Thoughts

“Snow lands on top”

There are a lot of different views on The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and I didn’t know how I to feel while reading it or after I finished. Even writing this now I am still debating which rating to give. I have always said I’d love to read/watch more Hunger Games from previous years, and I was so excited to think this is what Collins’ was giving us. Although this was not the case.

Overall, I loved reading this book, although it did start to drag a bit towards the end. This book is not written in the same story structure as The Hunger Games. I wouldn’t recommend if that is what you’re looking for. However, if you are interested and curious to see Snow back in his prime, how the uprising in Panem truly affected The Capitol and the Districts and how the games were early on, I would highly recommend you read this book.

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Good Girl, Bad Blood

Book Cover Design for ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’

Author: Holly Jackson
Released Date: April 30th 2020
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult Crime Fiction
Format: Paperback Book

Buy the book now! —————

Synopsis

Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective any more.

With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.

But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared but the police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time EVERYONE is listening. But will she find him before it’s too late?

If you haven’t ready my review on ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ Click here!

I bought Good Girl, Bad Blood (GGBB) a couple of weeks ago and didn’t pick it up until yesterday. I desperately wanted to read it, the thought of finishing it too quickly was stopping me from picking it up. But that is exactly what I did. I took just over a day because I was too enticed to put it down. If you haven’t read my review on Holly Jackson’s first book in the series ‘A Good Girls Guide To Murder’ (AGGGTM), go ahead and read that first!

Why I Love This Book!

“I can’t tell you what decision to make”

At the beginning of the book, we get a very simple recap from Pip of the events that transpired in the last book. It seems like more of a conclusion to the first book than a starting point for the second. AGGGTM is instantly fresh in your mind again and as your reading, you’re not subconsciously trying to remember what has happened, keeping you fully absorbed to the story at hand.

Time to grab the tissues because you are going to cry. Well, at least I did. Towards the beginning of the book unveils a very emotional memorial of Sal Singh and Andie Bell. The overlap of crimes is perfectly shown here. The ending of one is the start of another. Letting the reader know that trouble always finds Pip and this book isn’t any different.

One thing I especially love in this book is the Podcast. The idea of Pip turning her school project into a crime podcast, for everyone to hear the twisted tale of Andie Bell, is an exciting and simple way to make us feel and react as we would to any real crime case. It’s very refreshing to read the interview-style text, alongside crime scene photographs throughout the book. It moves away from the fact that a 17-year-old girl is solving the case, and therefore a bond is created with the reader for us to read on allowing her to solve the case, that she desperately desires to do.

The Crime

”I said I would never do this again, never play the detective, never again lose myself to the world of small-town secrets. It wasn’t me, not any more. I would have stuck to it too; I know I would’ve. But something’s happened and now I have to break that promise. Someone has gone missing. Someone I know.”

It’s with no surprise that in this book there are more complications in Pip’s life, preventing her from finding her best friend’s brother. Jamie Reynolds. As remarkable as Pip is at investigation, the want and need in her voice/actions to stay away from the obsession that consumes her in AGGGTM.

Of course, she couldn’t stay away. None of her school work or numerous sponsorships being offered to her is academically challenging enough to keep her satisfied. There were a few parts in the story that I foresaw, but I was instantly left in bewilderment as Jackson proved me wrong on my many theories. The way she highlights certain characters and evidence to make us question which ones are relevant to the story are done exceptionally well.

As well as the missing case of Jamie Reynolds, we also get to see the trial of Max Hastings play out. Letting us know the events from the prequel are far from over.

The Characters

“Words spliced, growing across the gaps like vines as her eyes unfocused until her handwriting was just one writhing blur. Pip was looking at the page, but she wasn’t really there. It was like that now; giant holes in her attention that she slipped right into.

Pip is a very strong-willed female character. She is the definition of a great female protagonist. And as much as everyone loves her in the first book, we see her character change due to the fame of her detective work. We start to see her faults, and how she begins to embrace these imperfections.

I would have liked to see more of Ravi. I feel he only begins to open up towards the end of AGGGTM, and now he has been pushed back as a side character. Stopping us from finding out more about him and his relationship with Pip. However, what we do see of Ravi I absolutely adore. He is the main source to deliver the information of the Max Hastings trial, to the podcast and therefore to the reader. Hopefully, we will see a lot more of Ravi in the rest of the series and see how his relationship with Pip evolves.

Connor Reynolds, one of Pip’s best friends, is featured a lot more in GGBB. To some extent, he becomes Pip’s sidekick by helping to solve the case. But quickly loses himself in the emotions of his brother being missing. Connor and his Mum, Johanna, play a big role when it comes to finding Jamie. They both manage to find the will-power to carry on looking for their missing family member, despite all the obstacles in their way.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of the first one. You can clearly see the thought and planning that Jackson goes through when it comes to writing both books in the series. I have to applaud her for throwing the reader off with many suspicious characters and events that happen from start to finish. It’s not an ending you see coming, making it a fantastic read for anyone who loves a bit of mystery to their books.

Rating 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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One Of Us Is Lying

Book cover for ‘One of us is Lying’

Author: Karen M. McManus
Released Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 361
Genre: Young Adult Crime Fiction
Format: Paperback Book

Buy the book now! —————>

*talk about mental health*

Synopsis

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.


Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Why I Love This Book!

“Things will get worse before they get better.”

As a new fan of mystery, crime and thrillers, I haven’t read many books of these genres. However, I was enthralled by each of the books including this one. When I first started reading I subconsciously compared this book to ‘A Good Girls Guide To Murder’ By Holly Jackson but soon realised they are 2 very different books but both amazing in their own way. I found myself gripped by the story from the very beginning, itching to solve the mystery before anything big is revealed. There were times when this book went beyond other YA/Teen thriller books in terms of character development and the feeling of being able to relate to a character. As I started reading I knew it would live up to its expectations of being a traditional take on ‘The Breakfast Club’

All the characters have their good and bad qualities, nevertheless, I still found myself rooting for all of them, hoping none of them did it. McManus’ ability to fool the reader and turn it into a ‘he did it, she did it’ scenario, keeps the reader guessing and hooked till the end when the killer is finally revealed.

Despite how much I did enjoy the book, there were a few points in the book that disappointed me a bit which I will get to later on. But now, let’s carry on!

The Crime

“It concerns me you’re avoiding a promise not to murder me.”

McManus main goal for this book is to keep the reader, guessing and make them suspicious of every character and event that takes place. Every chapter reveals another character’s point of view, disclosing information either about themselves or the crime that has taken place. And with the talk of secrets between all the characters, it makes you wonder if they did have something to do with it.

Surely one of them is lying? Well everyone is innocent until proven guilty. By creating their own secret detective group with all detention members, they push through all the obstacles in their way to find out who really killed Simon Kelleher?

The Characters

“Some people are too toxic to live. They just are.”

Picking up the book for the first time, I did think it might be another stereotypical teen drama book based on the well… stereotypical descriptions of the characters on the cover! I was pleasantly surprised to find it is definitely way more than that with these characters. I loved some and liked others less. But with so many characters telling their own story, you don’t have to like them all.

Now, we all love the guy gets the girl storyline, don’t we? Including me. However a book like this already tackling mental health issues, toxic relationships and let’s not forget the murder, it felt a bit forced too early on in the story before fully understanding the characters first.

Time to meet Addy! If I’m being honest, I didn’t like Addy at first. Like I said earlier, I thought she would be this cliché popular girl that every school has. But as the story went on, I started to warm up to her personality and saw her change through the situation, making a fantastic strong female lead. After overcoming toxic relationships through her family and boyfriend, she finds a way to bounce back stronger and learn from the issues she has had to defeat to get to where she is.

*Other Views*

It’s always hard to create content involving mental illness. Finding the best way to go around it without offending anyone, but also getting the point across that you want the reader or viewer to take away. In this book, I feel like Simon’s character who is diagnosed with depression could have been written with a bit more sensitivity. The way McManus amplifies Simon’s evil motives and wicked way of thinking would suggest there is more to Simon’s depression than what we are shown. The lack of further background detail raises questions to why he would jump to these extreme measures.

Perhaps the author did this deliberately, to show the reader that any situation can cause a catastrophic reaction.

Overall Thoughts

“We could be surrounded by walking dead in the zombie apocalypse and she’d look for the bright side.”

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will be reading the rest of McManus’ novels. There is always something new happening in every chapter, keeping the reader engaged enough to read it in one sitting (guilty!). As well as the main characters having captivating storylines, I found to enjoy the side characters storylines just as much, keeping me wondering when they were going to show up again and questioning if they had any major links to the story. I highly recommend you read this if you enjoy a bit of crime-solving, strong character development and an easy read.

These are just my opinions and would love to hear your view on the story!

Rating 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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A Good Girls Guide To Murder

Book Cover for ‘A Good Girls Guide to Murder’

Author: Holly Jackson,
Released Date: May 2nd, 2019,
Publisher: Electric Monkey,
Pages: 433,
Genre: Younge Adult Crime Fiction,
Format: Paperback book,

Buy the book now ——-

Synopsis
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

Why I LOVED This Book!

“But sometimes remembering isn’t for yourself, sometimes you do it just to make someone else smile. Those lies were allowed.”

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!! As soon as I picked it up, I wouldn’t put it down till I read all of it. Everyone, EVERYONE, has to go and buy this book right now and then come back and tell me how much you loved it!!

Every time I put this book down to either go to work, eat or any other human activity, my mind was so impatient and there was an itch to instantly pick it back up again. I can’t get over the exciting, page-turning events taking place throughout this book and now without a doubt, I will be buying plenty more young adult crime thrillers.

Our protagonist, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, is possibly the main reason that makes you keep reading. Her need for prying, searching, digging, her talent, intelligence, and social skills keep her 10 steps ahead of the reader, but it makes you wonder what is a 17-year-old going to find that the police didn’t find 5 years ago in Andie Bells case??

The Crime

“If a villain can be made, then he can be unmade.”

Sal Singh murdered Andie Bell.

Pip certainly doesn’t think so. She clearly went above and beyond to make the Police look like a fool. The persuasive and intelligent way she speaks to the people she needs to question gets them to open up, revealing secrets that the detectives couldn’t. She doesn’t know how far to go, but its not just her who desperately speaks the truth. Sal’s younger brother, Ravi does as well. Working together Ravi and Pippa begin to dig deeper, but she soon realizes she could be in danger.

The Cover

“The people you love weren’t algebra: to be calculated, subtracted, or held at arm’s length across a decimal point.”

The last thing I want to mention is the cover of the book. The beautiful illustration, so simple fits the storyline so well. The design even carried on into the inner pages, revealing characters of the book before you even start reading.

Overall Thoughts

“As if they think I don’t already know. I came out of the womb knowing how to do academic references.”

As well as reading this book and getting obsessed with ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ on Netflix, it makes me want to read and watch more things like this. I’ve been wanting to purchase these unsolved case files that look so cool to try and solve yourself. I also now want to go to a Court Hearing. If anyone has ever been let me know!!

Overall, this book is a must for any young adult book lovers. The twists and turns of the story keep it interesting. I wish I could forget what happens just so I can read it all over again.

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Everything Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon
Released Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Pages: 310
Genre: Younge Adult Fiction Book
Format: Paperback

Buy the book here——>

Synopsis

It’s a novel about a girl named Madeline who is suffering from SCID… or “bubble baby disease”. Madeline has spent the last 18 years trapped inside her house. The only people she comes in contact with are her nurse Carla and her mother. That is until the tall, lean, all-black wearing stranger moves in next door. Also known as Olly.)

Can I just say that this book is probably top of the list of the books I’ve read this summer and definitely a good summer read even though I finished it in 2 days! The cover is absolutely beautiful! How half the title is completely plain apart from the blue lettering which symbolizes her life before Olly, plain. And then to have the beaming and overcrowded with different illustrations of the outside world, everything she wants to see but she knows she can’t. The style Yoon has written this book is a style that is different from many other books by including notes, maps, email conversations and other things that allows the reader to get a glimpse of what’s going on in Maddy’s head, which I believe connects you more to a character, allowing you to understand them more.

The Characters

The way Yoon has created Maddy’s character is so unique to say she has this very rare, deadly disease because you would expect to feel sorry for her all the way through reading it. However I didn’t, I felt sorry for the outside world who don’t get the chance to meet this amazing, inspirational girl. She kind, caring, sweet and doesn’t let her disease hold her back, she really is something special.

Olly the boy next door, doesn’t have the traits I would have thought he would have from my first impression. He’s funny, charming, adorable and utterly and hopelessly in love with Maddy from the first moment he sees her. Which is exactly the same for Maddy as well:

“Maybe we can’t predict everything, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly… its almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

Maddy

He doesn’t let Maddy’s sickness get in the way of their relationship, and neither does Maddy. She doesn’t want sympathy from him, she just wants to be normal and live her life to the fullest.

The Story

Now, in every plot, the characters always run into a problem, and it’s no surprise what that is in this case. They will never be able to have a normal relationship. As long as Maddy can’t leave the house and until her Mum allows visitors. The two teenagers have been messaging and getting to know each other better in secret. This is the first thing she’s ever hidden as she’s so close to her mother and shares everything. In fact, it’s Carla her nurse who has been with her for many years is the one that finds out about her secret love interest and helps her eventually to meet him after much persuasion. It’s also Maddy’s fear that adds to the dilemma, as she’s afraid to further her relationship with Olly knowing that it won’t be easier and she also doesn’t want to hold him back.

“Love can’t kill you.”

Carla

This quote, in particular, must be inspirational to Maddy. It’s one of the only things in the world that can’t kill it but is taking risks for the ones you love, the same as love killing you? Because taking a huge risk is exactly what she does. Once her Mum finds out about her secret boyfriend, she takes extreme measures to forbid to see each and talk to each other. As we all know, teenagers hate to be told no. So she finds a way to go against her Mum’s word and rebel.

“For the first time in a long time, I wanted more than I have.”

Maddy

She wanted to escape this prison that was her life. Go out and see everything, which meant risking her life. She wanted more than what she’s read about, she wanted to see it. And in this case

“Love is worth everything, everything.”

Maddy

Could be the love for Olly, or even the love for the world she has which is why she’s so desperate to get out of the white walls that have been confiding her for so long.

The one thing I like the most in this book is how well the twist fits with the story. It doesn’t make readers confused wondering why it was put there. Believe me, you won’t see it coming. The thought never ran through my head once, which makes me like it even more as I like a storyline to catch me off guard and not be the same predictable plot.

Overall Thoughts

The ending for me was a bit disappointing, it seemed rushed and as if there was no real solution. Even just a page or two of their reunion could have made it something more special.  However, the way Yoon carried this out was cute and linked with previous actions from the two characters which are probably why she felt it didn’t need more content on it.

I recommend this to anyone who loves a good romance, aspects of comedy in it and isn’t afraid to shed a few tears.

Rating 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

 

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All The Bright Places

Synopsis

Author: Jennifer Niven
Name: All The Bright Places
Released Date: January 6th 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 378
Genre: Younge Adult Fiction Book
Format: Paperback 

Buy the book here —–>

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

My Thoughts

Let me just start out by saying this book is incredibly moving and not for the faint-hearted. I have never cried and felt so many emotions for a set of characters in the books I’ve read. People may compare this to ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ By John Green due to the similar storylines. But I adore ‘All the Bright Places’ much more and feel a stronger bond with the characters, Violet and Finch.

The Story

The first line of the book is immediately an attention grabber;

‘Is today a good day to die?’

Theodore Finch

It sets the story up and tells the reader that this young boy is obviously thinking about death. Sensitive topics are obviously involved. Throughout the first character, you begin to see how serious he is thinking about killing himself. He stands at the top of a bell tower, either ready to jump or thinking about it. That is until he notices a girl up there with him. Violet Markey who is suffering from the loss of her older sister. Right here at this moment is where his sarcastic, know-it-all, can-do attitude comes out and tries to talk her down, completely forgetting about himself. This first encounter with her is the start of Theodore Finch’s crush on Violet Markey.

The Characters

Finch has always been known as the ’freak’ and doesn’t have many friends and doesn’t care about popularity. All he cares about right now is staying awake from his months of sleep that overtake him now and again, and Violet Markey. He tries everything to get closer to her. He finally manages to when a paired project in school comes up and jumps at the opportunity. She’s not too happy about it. Finch tries to get Violet to confess why she was up on the bell tower, and though it takes her a while she finally trusts him enough to tell him. But before she trusted him and cared about him, she told him this one thing that may or may not stick with you while reading the book;

“None of it matters. Not school, not cheerleading, not boyfriends or friends or creative writing programs…It’s all just time filler until we die.”

Violet Markey

It makes you think about how some people just think about the future. And how nothing will matter about what you’re doing now, because one day it will all be gone. This is how you would think Finch would think. It took me by surprise when he tries to defend the life he was living. Jennifer really captured Finch’s split personality because even he doesn’t know what he wants sometimes. As the book goes on you can see their relationship starts to develop and I’m not the only one who’s a sucker for a love story. So every time finch tries to get her worked up to get a reaction out of her, I’m mentally screaming at them to hurry up and get together.

The colour blue in this book is very symbolic and is mentioned quite a lot throughout the book. It first caught my attention when Finch paints his whole room a light blue, which I imagine is the same colour as the book cover. If I had the time to read the book again, I would simply look for other symbolic references to the colour blue and how they fit with water and bright colours that Finch continues to talk about.

Now finally! The part that everyone was waiting for! When Finch tells violet he likes her and kisses her, when for so long he pretended he didn’t (But she must have been blind to not notice). I love how in the book their relationship isn’t introduced too early and gives you something to read on for. The storyline itself is a lot more grown-up. So if you’re like I and are sick of all these characters in books who are only 15/16 years old and feel like they need someone to love or it’s the end of the world. Then this book will suit you just right. Finch and Violet are aged 17/18 so I feel as if I can relate to them a lot more and not wonder why the younger characters in books are always acting older than they are.

My favourite character throughout this book has to be Finch, even though he has many problems of his own, like getting beaten by his dad, he manages to help Violet when she was going through a rough patch in her life. He put her first in every decision and always tried to make her happy. I mean he ran 6 miles just to get her some flowers!

Overall Thoughts

I’m not going to lie to you. You will cry, a lot. Jennifer Niven has written this extremely well, not going over the top or exaggerates how depressed Finch is. There are subtle and obvious hints in the book that he really needed help and just didn’t want it or it didn’t help. Even things that Violet couldn’t help with. It makes him seem selfish because he managed to get Violet to love him for who he was and he just takes off one day and leaves her.

I like how the book doesn’t end after him, you get to see Violet heal a bit and how’s she’s coping afterwards but always holding onto that tiny bit of hope that Finch may reappear at the end. I cried for a good half an hour after I finished reading, just putting myself in the character’s shoes and then I still couldn’t imagine the emotions they must have been going through.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and how well Jennifer Niven has been able to put in words the depression and anxiety that the characters were going through.

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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How I Write My Reviews

Although I haven’t written that many blog posts, there are loads more to come! I wanted to write this post so you got an insight into what I think about when reading a book. Followed by my thought process of writing a review.

Before I’ve even opened the book, I read the blurb, the recommendations and the taglines. I try to get a feel of what I can expect from the book.  The title of the book for me is a big part that intrigues me to pick it up. It’s the first thing you see when buying a book, so why would you buy one when the name doesn’t interest you? There’s also the cover of the book as well of the title. I know the saying ‘you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ but for me and maybe a lot of other people the cover helps you pick the book as well as a good story.

Before I’ve even opened the book, I read the blurb, the recommendations and the taglines trying to get a feel of what I can expect from the book.  The title of the book for me is a big part that catches me to pick it up and read it. It’s the first thing you see when buying a book, so why would you buy one when the name doesn’t interest you. There’s also the cover of the book as well of the title. I know the saying ‘you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ but for me and maybe a lot of other people the cover helps you pick the book as well as a good story.

When I come to reading the book, I don’t write as I go along because I don want to keep picking up and putting down the book. So I get little sticky notes and stick them in the pages when something interests me so I know where to come back to easily when writing. This is so I don’t waste time flicking through pages. These could be things like quotes that affect my thoughts on characters or the story, even ones that I just like. I also put markers in when my opinion changes on a character and when the story changes. This could be when there is disequilibrium (loss of stability) in the story and the characters come across a problem that disrupts their ’journey’.

I don’t write as I go along because I don want to keep picking up and putting down the book. With little sticky notes, I stick them in the pages when something interests me or so I know where to come back to easily when writing. I don’t waste time flicking through pages this way. These could be things like quotes that affect my thoughts on characters or the story. I put markers in when my opinion changes on a character and when the story changes. This could be when there is disequilibrium (loss of stability) in the story, making the characters come across a problem that disrupts their ’journey’.

Now the whole point of this post. 

How I write my reviews…

  1. Name the book and author before you do anything. You never know someone might forget and then you don’t have a clue what you’re reading about.
  2. Mention at the top of the post the publisher, publication date and the number of pages the book has.
  3. You need to start off with a catchy sentence that brings the reader in. Have a summary of your overall opinion on the subject you’re reviewing. Whether it is a book, a film or a product.
  4. The first subject should be what the story is about. A quick overview, you don’t want to be writing the book again. However, don’t reveal the ending or anything big that happens throughout the book here.
  5. Next, you want to discuss the main characters, their personality, relationships and their importance to the story.
  6. In this section as well you want to say which your favourite is and least favourite if you have one.
  7. Another thing to include, What the state of disequilibrium is and how this affects the characters and the storyline.
  8. You can also include characters or situations you relate to.
  9. Finally! Round up your opinions and give it an overall rating! personally, I rate the books I read out of 5.

There it is! everything you need to know to write a review. I hope this has given you some understanding of how to write a review. Give it a try one day!

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The Girl On The Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Name: The Girl On The Train
Released Date: January 13th 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 336
Genre: Thriller
Format: Hardback

Buy the book here—–>

Synopsis

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

My Thoughts

Out of all the books I’ve read, this is the first thriller I have read and I can tell you now it won’t be the last. The suspense throughout the book from the very beginning all the way till the end grips you in a way no other book will.

Rachel, the unstable, alcoholic character may seem a mess but you can’t help but love her. It’s weird really because if you knew or saw women like this in real life, you would want nothing to do with her. Yet Rachel manages to capture my attention from the first page. She commutes every day 5 days a week to London on the train. She sits in the same seat, at the same time, looking at the world around her and the people she passes. Especially this one couple, ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason’ who she has taken a very big interest in.

Every morning on the 8:04 train to Euston, she sees Jess sat out on the terrace drinking her coffee, followed by Jason coming out to give her a kiss before he sets off to work. I love how her character pays so much attention to detail. As if her own life isn’t good enough, she has to try and involve herself in someone else’s. Which is exactly what she does throughout the book.

The Story

‘There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.’ The first line. Who do they belong to? How did they get there? Knowing this book was a thriller before I started reading it. The first line delivers this genre nicely, hooking the reader in. Making them think that there may be more to be said about that pile of clothing. The little things make a big difference in books. When that pile of clothing was mentioned again, I quickly jumped and hurried to read on to see if it had any significance to the first time. It did not. But that didn’t stop me from reading on, in fact, it made me want to read on to see if she mentioned them again.

The story goes on about her repetitive life on the train. Until she’s going past Jess and Jason’s house and she sees Jess with another man out on the terrace. With her being the unstable, alcoholic character that she is, this must trigger something into her mind. Causing her to have some kind of meltdown and get ‘blind drunk’. Resulting in her not remembering anything of that Saturday night. This is a huge problem for her as she is involved in a murder investigation and terribly wants to find out what has happened.

I love how Paula Hawkins knows how to excite the reader to carry on. But also frustrate them in so many ways that they want to finish the book to find out the ending. This is exactly how I felt. Hurrying to finish but at the same time, trying to savour the story that was unfolding in front of me. As well as the main problem Rachel faces about that night, there are other issues that build up her personality. Such as her ex-husband Tom, leaving her for a woman called Anna.

The Characters

Anna is a tricky character for me as I never really knew if I liked her or not. In my opinion, she is meant to be the character that you’re not meant to like. She ‘stole’ Rachel’s husband from her. She has an arrogant way to her, thinking and knowing, in this case, that’s she’s better than the opposition – Rachel. Although, there’s always this fear connected with her which shows this arrogance and condescending attitude is all for show. Halfway through the book, I took my strong disliking to her character. When she’s admitting to herself how she likes the idea of getting caught.

“I enjoyed it, loved it, in fact. I never felt guilty.”

Anna

Tom, on the other hand, has always had a soft spot for Rachel. Even after all the late-night drunk calls and abusive texts night after night. In some ways, he tried to keep her close, as well as trying to get rid of her so he, Anna and his daughter Evie can have a peaceful life.

Jess, or her proper name, Megan. Where do I start with her? This character I never took an interest in her story. One, I know you can’t force yourself to love someone, but the way her husband Scott loves her is enough to make anyone jealous of how devoted he was to her. How selfish it was for her to let him suffer and grieve for her after she had several affairs and left without glancing back, for him never to see her again.

What she doesn’t see but what the reader sees is how he changes after finding out she’s missing. You find out a lot about Megan’s past life and what drove her towards the things she did, hoping that you feel sorry for her. But the more I read about her the more I came to dislike her character and that she would find distraction instead of finding help.

Overall Thoughts

Out of all the characters my favorite has to be Anna because she is so unique, how she always tries to be one above Rachel but she still feels below her. Slowly throughout the book, you see her starting to relate to Rachel and how her mistrust in people have left her the way she is.

This book overall is a 10/10 for me, I have nothing to complain about. This certainly will not be the last thriller book I read! I love how it has you questioning all the way through it, thinking you know a single detail what’s happening and then BAM! The unexpected happens. This is what I love about reading, not being able to see the outcome, so when you’re finished you’re just like wow, wishing so hard you could forget what happens and read it all over again.

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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