Review: 96 Hours by Georgia Beers

96 Hours

Erica Ryan is flying home from London after a disastrous business trip. Free spirit Abby Hayes is flying into New York City to visit her mother before jetting off again. Both end up in Gander, Canada, when their flight is diverted because of 9/11. For ninety-six hours they share a rollercoaster of emotions and find themselves drawn to one another. Will their nascent connection survive everyday life when they return home?

96 Hours is a book that had so many positive points for me, but also quite a few negatives. What I had hoped for was a book that was emotional, had a unique plot line and characters I cared about. What I got was a complete mixture, and I have to admit that I was disappointed, particularly by the last third of the book.

Erica is hard-working, ambitious and emotionally scarred, and Abby is a nomadic hippy who floats where the wind takes her and charms everyone she meets. The setting of their story however, stranded in Canada when their flight is diverted on 9/11, forces them to take stock of their own lives and to become more self-aware of their own deficiencies as people.

It was the bigger plot that I particularly liked about 96 Hours. Whilst the rest of the world was glued to their TV screens watching the horror unfold in New York, travellers like Abby, Erica, Brian and Michael find themselves stranded far from home, unable to help and not knowing when they will be able to make it back to America. They encounter some incredibly, generous, selfless people in the town of Gander, and it was the way that these secondary characters cared for hundreds of stranded strangers that really sucked me in. But it isn’t actually all that surprising that in the middle of the most prolific terrorist attack in modern history, that the good people of Gander band together to take care of people – and the overwhelming message of 96 Hours is that despite the possibility of evil being imparted by one group of humans, the vast majority of people are essentially good, caring individuals.

96 Hours is told through alternating perspectives between Erica and Abby, which was fine, but there was also a couple of random perspectives from one of the guys they were stranded with, and possibly from someone else (my memory is like a sieve I swear) which just felt clunky and unnecessary.

However, what really lost me, and in the end irritated the hell out of me, was the relationship aspect of the storyline. What Erica and Abby have initially is an attraction based on looks – which is completely fine, but it never felt to me like it surpassed the physical attraction. I wasn’t sold on WHY they were attracted to each other’s personalities – Erica was like a flat, white wall, Abby the annoyingly naïve girl until they had each had a (seemingly simultaneous) epiphany and instantly switch places. Beers does try to explain why this happens, and sells it in a way, but not completely.

The ending of 96 Hours didn’t work for me at all – it was all too….easy, and everything wrapped up too neatly. This is completely my personal preference and opinion however, and I can see that for some readers it really could work. Just not my cup of tea.

96 Hours does have an interesting plot, and one I haven’t run across before, however the characters simply didn’t work for me – I wanted them to, but something was lost along the way and I just couldn’t connect.

96 Hours

Find: Amazon |Goodreads

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

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Top Ten Tuesday – All Time Faves!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish – time to indulge in our love of lists!

 

 

 

 

 

Kat’s Top Ten All Time Recent Favourites

It’s my first post in a while (OK, in far too long), and also my first TTT in a long time – and it’s a hard subject!  I mean, how to do you choose your favourites from the last three years?!  But I shall try my best!

Top Ten Tuesday Faves1

Night Film by Marisha Pessl |Goodreads

I am a huge sucker for books with media, and that was what hooked me in with Night Film – but it was the strange addictiveness of a book where very little actually happens that had me lauding this book all over the place – and I’m looking forward to finding the perfect excuse to reread it.

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin |Goodreads

Golden Boy came along at a time I was starting to suspect I would never find another audiobook that would completely sucked me in.  And once it did, there was no turning back – the characters completely stole my heart, the storyline broke my heart, and Tarttelin’s handling of a difficult subject cemented the book’s place in my heart.

Fall of Night by Jonathan Maberry |Goodreads

After I loving Dead of Night (and let’s be completely honest, ever SINGLE book of Jonathan Maberry’s I’ve ever read, I’ve loved, so this is high praise indeed), I was super excited to find out there was a sequel.  And scared, because hello potentially shattered expectations – but Maberry pulled through for me once again – addictive, gory and SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO TALK ABOUT BUT DAMN SPOILERS.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein |Goodreads

Code Name Verity was a great read, but Wein really killed me with Rose Under Fire – I still don’t believe there is enough YA Historical Fiction out there, but Wein is fighting an admirable battle to get books out there that tell an important part of history without glossing over some horrible facts.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma |Goodreads

Anyone that has known me for a while will know my love for this book, but if you don’t – this is the second most heart-crushing book I’ve ever read (the most heart-crushing is coming up, don’t worry!), and I have huge huge respect for Suzuma as an author – she takes the most taboo of subjects and firstly makes it soul-destroyingly sad, and yet not as near as disturbing it should be.

TopTen Faves2

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan |Goodreads

The synopsis advertises this book as: David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

Which sounds kinda bizarre – and it is, but it’s also so beautifully written and perfect that I JUST HAVE NO WORDS.

Every Day by David Levithan |Goodreads

Oh hello again, David Levithan.  Let’s be honest, it’s no surprise you are here.

Every Day is one of the few books that I actually wrote down quotes for – I seldom do this, so it is praise indeed.  Plus I hugged this book for at least an hour after I finished it because….A.

Not a Drop to Drink  by Mindy McGinniss |Goodreads

In the last three years there have been a veritable deluge of dystopian books, but not enough proper post-apocalyptic YA novels, in my humble opinion.  McGinniss definitely hit the nail on the head with this one, and the plot is super brave for YA – I loved the companion novel too, but this one is still one of my YA-PA faves of all time, not just the last three years.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters |Goodreads

YEAH! MORE YA HISTORICAL FICTION WITH PARANORMAL AND VIRUS BITS. This book was the reason I did (OK still do) stalk Cat Winters mercilessly on Twitter to find out any possible tidbits about her next novels.  Ooooh, and pictures, there are pictures.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes |Goodreads

Yep, it’s the heart-breaker.  The sob-until-you-feel-sick, pages-are-glued-together-with-snot-and-tears, hug-the-book-when-you-finish-reading, stroke-the-book-when-you-walk-past-it type of book.  Need I say more?  Oh, except THERE IS A SEQUEL COMING.  Which alternately excites and scares the shit out of me….

Have you read any of these books and loved them to death too?  Or, any you think I would love as much as these?

My Secret Affair with Graphic Novels

OK, so it’s no longer a secret.  I have developed a passion, an obsession, a serious addition to graphic novels.

It all started with our last Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon in October last year (and yes, we are very overdue for another, I KNOW!), and during one of the Twitter parties I started talking about graphic novels with one of the other read-a-thon’ers (and I have since forgotten who, so please shout out if it was you!!) and I admitted I’d never read a single one.

She gave me at least one recommendation, El Deafo by Cece Bell (check it out on Goodreads), which I promptly purchased and started reading the next day.  I was instantly hooked, and went off in search of other similar books – and after several disappointing Kindle versions that I couldn’t even SEE, lots of awesome sounding ones that weren’t available electronically and recovering from the heart palpatations when I saw the cost of the paper versions, I’ve now read nearly 30 graphic novels in the last 3 months.

I was reluctant to try graphic novels for a couple of reasons:

1) Lack of substance – I mean, if there is less text and dialogue and you can read one in an hour, is it impactful, satisfying, emotional, captivating?  Well, yes – 30 Days of Night scared the crap out of me, the first The Walking Dead compendium had me addicted and gasping out loud, and Matthew Inman’s books had me giggling and smiling constantly.

2) Connected to the first point, but DUDE graphic novels are pricey – The Walking Dead compendiums are 30 GBP/36 Dollars apiece – I could buy 8 to 10 books for that price.  It does make finding good ones a bit of a crap-shoot – The Walking Dead I believe ARE worth the money, but several others I felt rather cheated by.

3) Graphic novels helped me achieve my reading goal for 2014, but when I read three or four in a day, does it ACTUALLY count?  This point I still struggle with a little – I feel like I’m cheating slightly by reading books with pictures rather than pages completely full of text.

Never tried graphic novels before, or tried and didn’t really click?  As a newbie myself, I’ve got some pointers:

– GET RECOMMENDATIONS – seriously, there are people out there who know their shit when it comes to graphic novels and they will point you in the right direction.

– If you are buying Kindle versions, for the sake of your sanity, and so you don’t get banned by Amazon for repeatedly returning items for refund (personally, I don’t know if this is a thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it really was), download the sample first.  Sadly, some of the samples don’t actually give you anything but the introduction/acknowledgement pages and that’s pretty much useless, but try and see if they a) work on your device and b) the illustration style doesn’t completely piss you off.

– Try the non-fiction ones – there are some excellent memoir graphic novels that have actually made them my favourite kind of graphic novel.  I don’t tend to read memoirs in ‘text only’ format, and it’s fun to explore a new genre in a less structured and predictable format.

And now my completely selfish reason for this post: I want need some more recommendations of Kindle compatible graphic novels as I am rapidly running out of them to read.  Give it to me! Oh, and tell me YOUR favourite graphic novel, or the reason you don’t read them, so we can harass persuade you to try one 😉

Review: Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

Finding Jake

A heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting story of psychological suspense in which a parent is forced to confront what he does—and does not—know about his teenage son, in the vein of Reconstructing Amelia, Defending Jacob, and We Need to Talk about Kevin.

While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn’t. He’s seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school.

Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he’s forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn’t really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?

Even if the publisher hadn’t made the comparison, it’s easy to see that Finding Jake is along the same lines as several other books told from the perspective of a parent whose child is accused of committing a crime, such as Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. And it was my love for We Need to Talk About Kevin as a novel that particularly drew me to Finding Jake.

The perspective is a little different in that it is told from the view of Jake’s stay at home father, Simon. His wife, a high powered lawyer, works long hours, whilst Simon, who is a professional writer, cares for Jake and their younger daughter, Laney. Told in alternating chapters between present day and different times in Jake’s childhood, Reardon takes an intricate look at childhood, parental influence, and how Simon deals with his discomfort at being the sole father in their neighbourhood who stays at home.

As well as his own insecurities about himself, Simon is also rather insecure about his children – Jake is more of a solitary child, and it’s obvious that Simon sees himself in Jake, which in turn is very confrontational for him after the shooting. Did his actions and decisions as a father make Jake a loner, did he not have the right influence over his choice of friends and social interactions, and how can his outgoing daughter Laney, have turned out so differently?

I did like that the story flashed between past and present, and that Reardon spent a lot of time in building Jake’s childhood, and although there’s never anything that particularly stands out as a warning sign, it’s Simon’s insights and ideas that pushed me into indecision. Did Jake do the terrible things he is accused of? Did Simon’s choices isolate him and stifle his social interactions? It’s all very thought provoking and kept me reading as I was rather desperate to find out whether Jake was guilty or not.

The other angle that I found particularly interesting was the role of the media and the way that social media influences the reactions of the general public to the shooting – Jake is immediately vilified as being violent and socially inept based on some very innocuous videos he has uploaded, and the print and television media immediately jump all over the Connolly family, before Jake is even found.

Finding Jake isn’t a particularly original plot, but it does bring some interesting perspectives and ideas to the table. It’s thought-provoking, intense and at times incredibly moving and although quite similar to another book, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

Finding Jake

Find: Amazon |Goodreads

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

Better than Perfect

Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Better than Perfect is built around an interesting idea – what is the ‘perfect life’, and do we work so hard towards that perfection that we lose sight of what we actually want? For Juliet, perfect is pretty straightforward – excel at school, excel at sport, be a good friend and girlfriend and get into Harvard. It’s only when her mother is hospitalised that Juliet’s life begins to change and she begins to question herself and her future.

OK, let’s talk about the elephant in the synopsis – Juliet cheats on her boyfriend. Now, I know a lot of people are bothered by cheating in books, but it’s not normally something that particularly bothers me – it happens in real life, and sometimes there are circumstances that don’t exactly excuse it, but explain it. However, in Better than Perfect I had several issues with it. Firstly, Juliet’s boyfriend, Jason, isn’t a horrible boyfriend – although he lacks some character development and a lot of personality, he’s kind and supportive and is always there for Juliet when she needs him. They call each other J constantly, which annoyed me quite early on and they have some really cheesy habits, but I felt so sorry for him – he tries to do the right thing and Juliet not only cheats on him, she never admits to it either. Secondly, for large parts of the book there is very little interaction between Juliet and Declan – it wasn’t that there was a huge personality click and chemistry that had me convinced they were meant to be together.

I also found it very difficult to sympathise with Juliet – she has a pretty easy life, and although I could feel her vulnerability when she starts to realise that what she thought was a perfect life is actually far from it, she does, and thinks some very selfish things when it comes to her parents. She doesn’t seem to feel sad that her mother is struggling with her own life, and in fact at times comes across as rather bratty and spoilt.

There are a lot of plot lines that seem to go nowhere too, and I was incredibly curious about those parts of the story that just petered out and died when they had served the purpose of sending Juliet in a different direction. I love when characters realise something about themselves or their futures that they have never considered and then pursue it with passion, but Juliet just kind of flounders about for most of the book and then makes one decision right at the very end of the book.

Overall, Better than Perfect was an excellent idea, that just didn’t live up to expectations in terms of plot development and character development. Coupled with an unmemorable, rather unlikable main character who did things that I found incredibly irritating, sadly I just couldn’t enjoy it.

Better Than Perfect

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

Review: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

Would you try to change the world if you thought it had no future?

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities — but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way… until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

My quest for the perfect YA contemporary novel is an old story – there’s almost always something that doesn’t quite work for me – and so I’m always on the hunt for that YA author that ticks all of my boxes repeatedly, and I feel a real affinity with their work. A.S. King was an author I’d heard so much about, but I had my doubting Doris pants on, until I read Ask the Passengers in 2013….and it made my Top Ten list for the year.

Therefore, opening up Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future was a vital moment in my reading life – here was the author that I’d been told was amazing, who had written a book that I’d adored, with a new offering. Was I about to be disappointed or completely blown away?

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future is…strange. But it’s that kind of strange that automatically drags me in – it’s odd, but it’s not completely weird – there are elements that in theory shouldn’t have worked for me, yet worked extremely well, a character that is equally likeable and unlikeable, and a plot that left me with more questions than it answered. And although it’s not going to make my Top Ten 2014 list, it left me thinking for a long time after I finished it.

Glory, bought up by her reclusive artist father, her only friend being the girl who lives in the commune across the road, and with no real idea about her future, or really who she is as a person, drinks the blood of a bat and begins to see transmissions from people whenever she looks at them – particularly the pasts of their ancestors and the futures of their descendants. This part is what I particularly loved about the book – it’s a hint of a dystopian future, and how it unfolds, without actually being a dystopian novel – making for a very unique plot.

Of course, there is also Glory’s story in the present. She’s completely undecided about her own future, wanting to know more about her deceased mother, trying to help her father disconnect with the world, and sorting out her friendship with Ellie, who is more of a friend of convenience rather than compatibility in Glory’s mind.
What I loved about the previous A.S. King book that I read, and again in Glory, is that the characters are not sugar coated in any way shape or form – they have complex personal issues and personalities, their relationships are not perfect and they don’t have all the answers. Some of them are not particularly likeable, and almost all of them have ugly moments – and these are the things that will draw me back to A.S. King again and again – nothing is straightforward, and not every story has to end perfectly.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

Blue Stars

Review: Blue Stars by Emily Gray Tedrowe

Blue Stars

Blue Stars brings to life the realities of the modern day home front: how to get through the daily challenges of motherhood and holding down a job while bearing the stress and uncertainty of war, when everything can change in an instant. It tells the story of Ellen, a Midwestern literature professor, who is drawn into the war when her legal ward Michael enlists as a Marine; and of Lacey, a proud Army wife who struggles to pay the bills and keep things going for her son while her husband is deployed. Ellen and Lacey cope with the fear and stress of a loved one at war while trying to get by in a society that often ignores or misunderstands what war means to women today. When Michael and Eddie are injured in Iraq, Ellen and Lacey’s lives become intertwined in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where each woman must live while caring for her wounded soldier. They form an alliance, and an unlikely friendship, while helping each other survive the dislocated world of the army hospital. Whether that means fighting for proper care for their men, sharing a six-pack, or coping with irrevocable loss, Ellen and Lacey pool their strengths to make it through. In the end, both women are changed, not only by the war and its fallout, but by each other.

When I first picked up Blue Stars, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve read a lot of novels set during historical wars, but I don’t recall reading one set during modern warfare, so I have nothing to make a direct comparison to, but the themes are so similar no matter what the time period that I was instantly drawn into the story.

Told in alternating perspectives of the two main characters, Ellen and Lacey, I found myself equally invested in both of their stories, even though as characters they have nothing in common with each other, and I have nothing in common with either of them. Ellen is a successful professor, widowed and mother to two children and guardian to a third, whereas Lacey is one of life’s battlers – a former single mother who married Eddie not so much for love as for security and a sense of belonging. One is very social, the other very introverted, one cool and collected, and the other brash and outspoken, and it was this juxtaposition of two very different characters that I enjoyed the most.

Blue Stars is not particularly plot driven – although there is some discussion about the war in Iraq and of course the journeys that Lacey’s husband and Ellen’s son go through after their injuries, it’s very much a character driven novel. It’s obvious right from the beginning of the novel, where Tedrowe spends a lot of time looking into the intimate family details of Ellen’s family, and then switching to Lacey as she struggles to find her fit in her own life.

There is a lot of time spent on family relationships, but the biggest focus of the book, and the part that I enjoyed the most, was the development of the friendship between Ellen and Lacey. Although they have nothing in common up until the point where they first meet at Walter Reed Army Hospital, their situations draw them together – and their friendship forms as more from necessity and mutual respect for the way each other lives their lives, rather than a personality click. It’s an interesting perspective in a novel, and felt incredibly realistic – they need each other to survive a difficult period, but without the pull of a personality match, the friendship develops differently.

As well as focusing on the characters, Tedrowe also creates some pretty damning, albeit fictional, evidence of how injured armed forces servicemen, and even more so, their families, when they are sent back from the war. From the confusing jargon and multiple social agencies, to the standard of housing and the separation from the rest of their families, although I don’t have enough knowledge to say whether it is realistic or not, I could feel Tedrowe’s passion on the subject throughout her novel.

With multiple themes and layers, very carefully and realistically drawn characters, non-traditional relationships and some very difficult decisions, Blue Stars is an excellent contemporary novel that is both character driven and eye-opening, and if it sounds interesting to you, definitely check it out.

Blue Stars

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

All the Bright Places

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

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.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Whenever I see that everyone loves a book, I get this kind of sick feeling in my stomach. Hey, the book sounds awesome, amazing, and everyone loves it, but what if I don’t? What if I end up feeling like I’ve missed something completely obvious and now I’m going to have to live in black sheep land and hang my head in shame?!

But I was drawn to this book – it sounded good, it had been on my wishlist before the glowing reviews started coming out, and hey, lots of people whose opinions I trust were reading it. Maybe it would blow me away, be amazing and fantastic and an immediate favourite.

While reading it however, I was really torn. There were parts that I loved, and I think Niven did especially well in building two very well rounded characters, and tackling a lot of very difficult issues with sensitivity and some pretty gorgeous writing. Finch is easily one of my favourite male teen characters that I’ve read in a while – he’s kooky and funny, creative and obviously very smart, and although he’s obviously struggling with some very difficult issues, and is called a freak by many of his peers, he keeps a sense of himself and isn’t afraid to be seen as different or unusual.

On the other hand, Violet wasn’t really the most outstanding female character for me – I felt like some personality was missing, and therefore I struggled with why Finch and Violet actually ended up together in a romantic relationship – I could see Violet’s attraction to Finch, but not why Finch develops such a fascination with Violet.

However, where my click with Violet was missing, Niven definitely succeeded in drawing me into their story, and getting into some pretty intense issues with a gentle hand. There are so many themes in the story that it really had me stop and think about how I personally would have dealt with some of the situations that Violet and Finch find themselves in, and how people can make judgements without really knowing a person, or what they are going through. And it’s not all heavy themes and sad times – there are some wonderful parts that touch on acceptance, moving forward through difficult times, and finding out who you really are that make this such a balanced, thoughtful book.

Although I didn’t fall madly in love and have my heart smashed to a million pieces (maintaining my titanium heart reputation), I can completely understand why this book has been so impactful and emotional for so many people.

All the Bright Places

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

Burn for Burn

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds.

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate.

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person–her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he’s going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

I love a good revenge story – it probably says several unflattering things about me, but there’s something satisfying about reading a book where the characters fight back against people that have done wrong to them, and the dirtier it gets, the better.

Kat, Mary and Lillia are three girls who each have a reason to seek revenge against those that have wronged them. Lillia is part of the popular crowd, Kat is a rebel and Mary is the quiet new girl, but they are drawn together in their need to get revenge on three of the popular kids – part of Lillia’s own crowd.

All three characters are very different, and the one that stands out most of all is bad girl Kat – she’s tough, non-censored and she was completely dedicated to the cause, despite her rather stereotypical bad girl persona – it was another thing that I found a little grating. She smokes, her brother uses drugs, her family is struggling…it was all a little bit too predictable.

The characters they are seeking revenge on though – a couple of them deserved everything they got and so much more – they were the mean kids that everyone that wasn’t popular at school would have loved to see smacked down to everyone elses level. Han and Vivian did a great job in creating characters that were realistic but also had me feeling completely unsympathetic towards them.

Perhaps the first thing that stood out to me was how easily the three girls agreed to be part of a revenge plot – it was almost a little too quick for my liking, and I thought there would have been more back and forth before they decided to group up and put their plans into motion.

What I did love was the setting – I can totally imagine living on an island is the ultimate fish-bowl of knowing what everyone else is doing (even if you don’t want to), and coupled with high school and teenage jealousies and cliques, it was delicious.

But. And it’s a big one. The ending – I didn’t get it, and I didn’t like it at all. There’s a ‘twist’ that felt completely irrelevant and like it was thrown in for shock value or to add appeal to readers who don’t necessarily like straight contemporary novels – it didn’t fit right. However, overall I did really enjoy Burn for Burn – it’s got so many of the elements that I enjoy in contemporary YA novels, and the three perspectives made it easy and addictive reading as they were so distinct. Perhaps the ultimate explanation of how I felt was that as soon as I was finished reading, I ordered the second book, Fire With Fire.

Burn for Burn

Find: Amazon |Goodreads
Follow Jenny Han: Website |Twitter Siobhan Vivan: Website |Twitter

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• This book was acquired [purchased or borrowed] by me for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.[/box]

mailbox madness

Mailbox Madness (104)

mailbox madness

Mailbox Madness at MSC excited to be joining The Sunday Post
which is hosted by Kimberly @ Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Mailbox Madness at MSC is also stoked to be joining Stacking the Shelves which is hosted by Tynga @ Tynga’s Reviews.

Kat’s Mailbox Madness

After several weeks of very few books, or only books as gifts, I caved this week and made a few purchases and review requests.  Oh well, it was fun 😉

Mailbox Madness 104 Kat

Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight |Goodreads

Speak by Louisa Hall |Goodreads

Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick |Goodreads

Prohibited! by DeLancey Stewart |Goodreads

What We’ve Lost is Nothing by Rachel Louise Snyder |Goodreads

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick |Goodreads

Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones |Goodreads

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman |Goodreads

Have a fabulous week!

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• Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

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