Posted in Book Reviews

‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon

‘Everything, Everything’ by Nicola Yoon.

“Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything”.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is a young adult contemporary book about a young woman’s self- discovery of herself and adapting to her world around her. Nicola Yoon has done an amazing job in portraying the likeness of her characters making them more imaginable and relatable to everyday teenagers. Nicola Yoon has portrayed her main character ‘Madeline’ as a strong, inspiring and independent character who suffers from the well-known disease SCID know as Severe combined immune deficiency disease. Throughout this inspiring novel, Madeline describes her rare illness as a ‘bubble baby disease’. As she lives in a metaphorical bubble, she’s unable to leave her house due to ‘outside elements’ having a negative effect on her body resulting in becoming severely sick or leading to death. The only people she socializes with are her mother and her nurse, Carla. This is until she meets her talk, dark and mysterious next door neighbour, ‘Olly’. All of a sudden, she finds herself communicating with him through IM, emails and quirky secret messages written on their windows. They both find themselves opening up to each other about concerns and feelings that they have never been able to talk about. Olly encourages her to feel something she’s never sensed before; love.

‘Everything, Everything’ has quickly become one of our favourite books in YA literature! Madeline’s story is amazing as we can all find a piece of ourselves within her. Madeline is relatable to all readers as she represents our feelings, relationships and our ideals as teenagers and adults. Nicola Yoon centres her debuting novel by actively encouraging diversity and embracing our own unique quirks. Beautiful, eccentric illustrations were also shown throughout the novel individualising the entirety of the book. Madeline’s spoiler book reviews throughout each chapter also added that something extra sending the novel souring to success.

Personally, it could have done with a better resolution towards the end as it felt rushed, and we would have loved it to have lingered for a few more pages. However, it could never go wrong with the biggest and the most unexpected plot twist that transformed this debuting YA novel.

What’s most exciting though, is that our newest added addition ‘Everything, everything’ will be released as a movie this coming May 2017! This new novel with grab everyone’s attention with its romantic and inspirational story line as well as it’s strong, empowering characters. Overall, this was a fantastic debut novel! Funny, sad, romantic and quirky all in one! Furthermore, this quick and easy read is an absolute must- read for everyone interested in YA literature and/or those that are new to the world of YA fiction!

Book Rating: 4.5/5

“The greatest risk is not taking one”.

                                                                                      ~ Georgia & Morgan

Posted in Book Reviews

‘Nona & Me’ by Clare Atkins

‘Nona & Me’ by Clare Atkins.

Publisher: Black Inc

Published: September 24th 2014.

Page Count: 288 pages.

Genre: YA Contemporary.

Synopsis:

Rosie and Nona are sisters. Yapas.
They are also best friends. It doesn’t matter that Rosie is white and Nona is Aboriginal: their family connections tie them together for life.

Born just five days apart in a remote corner of the Northern Territory, the girls are inseparable, until Nona moves away at the age of nine. By the time she returns, they’re in Year 10 and things have changed. Rosie has lost interest in the community, preferring to hang out in the nearby mining town, where she goes to school with the glamorous Selena, and Selena’s gorgeous older brother Nick.

When a political announcement highlights divisions between the Aboriginal community and the mining town, Rosie is put in a difficult position: will she be forced to choose between her first love and her oldest friend?

Review:

Firstly, a huge thank you to Black Inc Australia for sending us a gorgeous copy of ‘Nona & Me’ to review.

Nona and Me is based on the lives of Nona and Rosie who grew up together as Yapas (sisters) in Yirrkala, a remote community located in the Northern Territory of Australia. A series of events pull the girls apart, until now. Nona after leaving the town returns to attend Rosie’s school. In a time when racial barriers are raised Rosie believes that she has finally found her niche, whom just happen to appear as the popular girls at the school, and the guy she’s been crushing on finally starts to notice her. The last thing she accounts for is to be reminded of her past including her ties with her aboriginal family and Yolnu people.

This book takes place in chapters bouncing back and forth between the past and present. We see how close Rosie and Nona’s relationship was and how far apart they have become. Being portrayed from Rosie’s perspective readers recognize common teen struggles such as embarrassment over family connections, struggling to follow parenting rules, peer pressure and trying to become someone you’re not. Meaning Rosie constantly ignores Nona at school.

We found that Rosie was extremely easy to relate to. She’s a normal teenager that struggles to find her own identity. She is so overcome with fear and peer pressure to fit in and not feel like outcast. Her insecurities are often very overwhelming which makes her really difficult to like, particularly when she tries to ignore Nona and her aboriginal family when they have lovingly and willingly opened their arms to her. We loved how Clare Atkins showed Rosie evolving and learning throughout the novel to appreciate her mother, family, her community and to recognize what kinds of people she is truly associating with in her friendship group.

Even though we don’t often see much of Nona in the present chapters there is no doubt that she plays a crucial importance in the storyline. There is a certain beauty of reading the chapters from the past. They are delicate and striking retellings of the strong childhood friendship between the two girls. The author has done a beautiful and magnificent job of finding a balance between intricacy and tension, so that when you read from the past to the present you will remain anxious waiting for the moment of when Nona has to leave Rosie.

Nona and Rosie are the centre of this stunning story. As we turned each page we were devoured with the love and heartbreak of their intriguing relationship. We just adored these main characters and gave into our never-ending emotions after this gorgeous read! We loved that we learned about aboriginal communities and cultures throughout this plot!

We absolutely recommend this beautifully told story which is fascinating and rich in insight to YA Contemporary readers.

Book Rating: 4/5 Stars.

Have you read ‘Nona & Me’? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!!

Posted in Book Reviews

‘The Moonlight Dreamers’ by Siobhan Curham

‘The Moonlight Dreamers’ by Siobhan Curham .

Publisher: Walker Books.

Published: July 7th 2016.

Page Count: 352 pages.

Genre: YA Contemporary.

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

Synopsis:

Amber, Rose, Sky, and Maali may be very different, but they all have one thing in common: they’re fed up with being told how to look, what to think and how to act.

They’re not like everyone else and they don’t want to be.

Becoming friends gives them the courage to be themselves.

Review:

Firstly, a huge thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending us a gorgeous copy of ‘The Moonlight Dreamers’ to review.

The Moonlight Dreamers takes place around Brick Lane which is located in London. The four main characters; Amber, Rose, Sky, and Maali are all unique, different and find it extremely hard to be themselves. This helps add to this beautiful and heart-warming story. Amber struggles with a dreadful school experience due to the bullies at her school as well as feeling conflicted whilst trying to connect to one of her two dads. Rose, is sick and tired of her mom forcing her into a life she doesn’t want to live. She also has the problem of her boyfriend pressuring her into something she isn’t ready for; she feels helpless and alone. Sky, misses her mom dearly who passed away five years ago. She tries to find her confidence to perform her intriguing poems in a poetry slam. Sweet and quiet, Maali is trying to work towards building the courage to communicate with boys or in particular a boy called Ash.

We loved how the author created characters with different struggles. Siobhan Curham really shows us that opposites are drawn to each other, and that diversity is definitely important in friendships. We should absolutely be seeing more of the same diversity in more Young Adult fiction.

The story was focused on the main themes of friendship, family relationships, finding our own identities and looking for the smaller things in life that truly make us happy. It was definitely a surprise that we loved how the plot wasn’t related around romance. We loved how the author didn’t focus on this aspect as the love for friendship brightly shone through as we constantly flipped through the pages. We would have loved for there to have been a greater and more dramatic complication. However, Curham did a truly magnificent job at portraying each of the girls stories without making the story really bizarre and complicated!! We also absolutely adored the characters and the storyline, it was definitely entertaining.

We loved the author’s writing style!! Her immediate perspective revealed a determined sensitivity to many key issues that young men and woman face today such as body image, peer pressure, social media, friendships and working towards the things that truly make you the happiest. Portrayed in her beautifully written words are positive messages that encourage a resistance to social media and a love to find our confidence within ourselves.

The four young characters all come from diverse and cultural backgrounds. They discover sisterhood when the secret ‘Moonlight Dreamers’ club is formed. Guided by the inspiring wisdom of Oscar Wilde, the sisterhood provides each girl with a supportive and secret environment where they can be themselves and confront their issues. Guided by each other, inspiration and dreams are created.

Now encouraged to be ourselves, this book is beautiful and heart-warming!! You would never expect the power of friendship to form so strongly! We loved the ending and all the characters found the closure that they needed. We were definitely left with smiles on our faces.

We recommend this gorgeous and inspirational read to all YA readers! Especially those who are struggling with any issues in their lives.

Book Rating: 4.5/5 Stars.

Have you read ‘The Moonlight Dreamers’ What were your thoughts?

Posted in Book Reviews

‘Strange the Dreamer’, by Laini Taylor.

‘Strange the Dreamer’ by Laini Taylor.

Publisher: Hodder and Stougan.

Published: March 28th, 2017.

Page Count: 544 pages.

Genre: YA Fantasy.

“It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming”-Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer.

Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Review:

Laini Taylor is without a doubt a fantastic and eye-catching writer! She has an extraordinary power with words. Everything that she writes manages to sound true and poetic as if her words are a rare piece of art on display. Her writing catches you with surprise, leaving you to fall into a magical and supernatural world. This novel was sensational to read. It was breath taking and mixed with a fanciful plot and turn of events.

We loved the whole idea of ‘Strange the Dreamer’. It was truly amazing! Laini Taylor has a gift with her unique imagination in how she can create the most bizarre and extraordinary ideas. This book was out of this world! It’s imaginative, stunning, thrilling and heart stopping!!

We loved the link that the author incorporated from the title ‘Strange the Dreamer’. She referenced dreaming in itself. Many authors struggle to do this but Laini Taylor is the exception.

However, whilst reading this book in particular, we really struggled to grasp the imagery and description of the setting. We couldn’t imagine the place where the story was set. We would have loved to have learned more about ‘Weep’ and it’s tremendous past. We did however love how the author described the characters. Their personalities were very original and magnificent.

Going into this book, the blurb couldn’t tell us anything about the actual content of the novel. It was very unclear. The plot is quite complex to explain and it’s definitely something you need to read to understand. It was impossible to foretell the outcome of this story!!

We also found that the book had some unpredictable twists and turns. Some parts confused us and other parts overly excited us! We definitely struggled with the pace throughout this book. The start was very long and the ending which was our favourite aspect of the whole book, was really rushed.

We adored all of the characters! They were enjoyable and lovable.

Lazlo Strange is so sweet, generous and down to earth. He is definitely the best, cute and awkward soulmate. He loves books! He also likes telling memorable stories just as much as we do! Throughout every scene, he was such a gentleman!! More characters need to be portrayed like him! We just adored him. He was described to have a crooked nose, long hair and generous eyes. We cherished this as this made him even more relatable.

We also really enjoyed the character Sarai, as we loved her passionate and powerful personality. She is also very kind hearted and headstrong. She was both a mixture of confident and shy.

We honestly loved the romance. It suited the novel exceedingly well.

Overall, we really enjoyed ‘Strange the Dreamer’ by Laini Taylor. It was incredibly written and had such lovable and passionate characters. Although the plot was confusing in parts, the story just left us wanting more! We can’t wait for the sequel!!

Book Rating: 4/5 Stars.

Have you read ‘Strange the Dreamer’? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!!

Posted in Book Reviews

‘Letters to the Lost’, by Brigid Kemmerer

‘Letters to the Lost’ by Brigid Kemmerer.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Published: April 6th 2017.

Page Length: 393 pages.

Genre: YA Mature, Contemporary.

“I don’t even know you, but I feel like I understand you. I feel like you understand me. And that’s what I like so much about it”.

Synopsis:

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads, a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither of them knows that they’re not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.

Review:

After reading some of Brigid Kemmerer’s previous novels, we enjoyed everything we’ve read so far! Brigid Kemmerer has a beautiful way of portraying broken teens who try and find their own way in life. However, she is at her absolute best with her recent release Letters to the Lost. This book intrigued us from the moment we read the blurb! This beautiful and raw book stripped us bare!

We were captivated by this story. After reading the first two pages, we literally couldn’t put the book down! We loved the idea of how young adult contemporary, brings two characters together. However, in Letters to the Lost, both main characters Juliet Young and Declan Murphy became close without ever having met! Without ever knowing each other’s identities when they shared their darkest secrets and feelings to each other.

Over the course of the novel, Juliet Young and Dylan Murphy’s story entwine to become one. Juliet’s mother died in a hit-and-run car crash, and she’s been struggling with her grief ever since. Juliet would always write letters to her mother as she was often overseas for her career as a photographer. She would capture the pain and suffering of war zones in just one shot. Juliet continues to write letters to her mother. Even after her passing. Juliet has been leaving these letters at her gravestone.

Declan Murphy has the signed penance of community service. This involves mowing the lawn around the cemetery. He finds a letter one afternoon by a gravestone, reads it and writes back as he believed that no one would notice that he had. As an exchange between letters surprisingly starts, they soon become emails between the anonymous accounts of ‘Cemetery Girl’ and ‘The Dark’. Juliet and Declan have no idea who they are reaching out to and they have no idea that sharing their intense and withheld grief will subside their pain. However, in real life, they both misjudge each other. Neither are each other’s biggest fans.

What will happen when they find out each other’s identify?

Will their identities ruin the connection that they share between their secret messages?

We loved the striking imagery and the way the author conveyed emotion. This novel was perfect in every way and form. All the letters they wrote to each other were thought-provoking, honest and confronting. They gave us shivers! There is definitely an unrefined beauty to opening up to someone you don’t particularly know but you feel you can trust. Each letter conveyed so much, they were sinking in grief and acceptance.

The story addresses many important themes such as friendship, loyalty, betrayal, loss, bullying, judgement, personal struggles and acceptance. Amid the character’s pain comes moments of hope that gifts them with the realization that they can both try and help each other get through each day.

We definitely recommend Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. It’s meaningful, breathtaking and a thought-provoking read! An excellent story is portrayed about two teens who meet in multiple ways!

We recommend this book to those who love YA Contemporary. Keep in mind that it’s more of a mature read.

Book Rating: 5/5 Stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

‘Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book’ by Jennifer Donnelly.

 ‘Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book’ by Jennifer Donnelly.

Publisher: Disney Press.

Published: January 31st, 2017.

Page Length: 352 pages.

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy.

“The book was warm. Belle felt a faint pulsing as she touched it. As if it had a heartbeat. As if it were alive”.

Synopsis:

Hidden in the Beast’s Library, Belle is about to discover a mysterious book and visit a glittering new world. But everything is not as it seems. When the time comes, will Belle be able to find her way back home? Or will the story take hold of her- and never let go?

Review:

This new, unique, and fresh Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book novel is definitely relatable towards the classic, Beauty and the Beast tale. We absolutely enjoyed the intriguing introduction which was surprising. It reeled us in with the interaction between the characters Love and Death.

The story begins with Belle in the Beast’s castle after she takes her father’s place and is imprisoned. Dearest Bell with wisdom beyond her years, consistently shares her overwhelming love for books! When Belle opens the book called Nevermore, she’s instantly pulled into the world. It’s just like entering a dream that you never want to leave once waking up! Can the Beast’s heart change and will love conquer all? Or will Belle be so entwined in Nevermore that she’ll be lost forever?

Love and Death are sisters whom appear fascinated in Belle and the connection that she shares with the Beast. After pursuing a bet on whether or not Belle would fall in love with the beast before the last petal falls, Death decides to take the bet into her own hands. She unmistakably cheats by secretly placing a magical book in the Beast’s library – named Nevermore. Belle finds this book and once opened, she is instantly transported to a bright, energetic world full of friends, culture and romance. So it seems… The one thing that Death also doesn’t mention to Belle is that if she eats three things and leaves three things behind in Nevermore, she will be caught in Death’s trap forever! She will never be able to leave Death’s realm!

This story takes place after Belle and the Beast’s relationships grows into a friendship. Through shared thoughts, they slowly bond over their shared love of the many books hidden under the layers of dust in the Beast’s library. However, Belle is still a prisoner and although she is somewhat comforted by her surroundings and happy with the friendships she’s made between the Beast’s servants, she can’t help but yearn for an escape to see her father again…

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book will definitely be a huge hit among younger reads. Although, we feel let down by this story, we still rather enjoyed reading this novel with it’s mysterious, new, unique and inspiring plot. We feel as though younger readers will take away messages from the book like we did. These messages include to always look through outer appearances, remain loyal to friends, never lose hope, to follow your heart and to remain truthful to ourselves and those around us.

We also just loved the authors writing style. Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book was a fast read! We loved the simplicity of the story, allowing it to be great for young children as well as YA readers! We loved gaining a greater understanding into the Beast’s background and we loved the new characters that were described in Nevermore!

Did we mention that the cover is absolutely gorgeous?!

We would have loved a longer ending as we felt that it was really abrupt and not what we expected. However, we really loved this simple, beautiful and fast read. It broadened our horizons of all things Beauty and the Beast!

We would definitely recommend this unique and magical addition to this classic tale. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to this intriguing and captivating novel. You won’t be disappointed!

We recommend this novel to those who enjoy YA Contemporary, fantasy and those who love all things Beauty and the Beast!!

Book Rating: 3/5 stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

‘Release’, by Patrick Ness

‘Release’ by Patrick Ness.

Publisher: Walker Books.

Published: May 4th 2017.

Page Count: 287 pages.

Genre: YA, diverse, contemporary.

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Synopsis:

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Review:

This is our first ever book that we’ve read by Patrick Ness and we’re happy to say that we absolutely loved it!! This book was remarkable and unique. Release, by Patrick Ness progressed in a magical and creative way.

The entire plot of this novel occurs over a period of one day. This was brilliant and extremely steady in pace! We felt so much pity towards the main character Adam as his day just kept growing from bad to worse! The way we could become invested in the characters and their lives proves the complexity of the situations throughout the day. Patrick Ness is an incredible and phenomenal writer throughout the depth of how the characters were written, the messages behind the story being conveyed and the everyday struggles that everyone faces whilst growing up.

We connected with Adam immediately; he was honest, confused, quiet and misjudged. We were hooked from the very first pages! Adam is unique, he’s lost and feels as though he doesn’t deserve to be loved. Our hearts broke for him, belonging to a highly religious family who believed he was a sin due to the right of who he chooses to love. Pain and heartache from a first love is clear on every turned page. As his day transforms into hell you find pieces of Adam shattering. However, over the course of the novel he comes out of his safety bubble and really starts to bloom, he gains courage and confidence. He learns to find his voice and speak up for what he believes in.

The characters are heartfully written- in depth between the friendship of Angela and Adam being as close as family is brilliantly portrayed.

Patrick Ness outlines everyday struggles that we all face in growing up and maturing into the young adults we all wish to become. Patrick Ness is one of few who have the ability to allow the readers to reflect on situations in life, with understanding. A book that’s all about not being defined by a single label and that knowing family isn’t always blood related. There are always other support networks.

The mystical and imaginative aspect of this novel was one that we couldn’t quite understand. There’s a girl named Katie, who drowned in a lake within the small town of which Adam lives. Adam buys a rose, pricks his finger upon a thorn and as Katie’s ghost emerges from the lake, she senses Adam and their narrations become entwined. We were a little confused with the ghost’s purpose throughout this novel other than finding a resolution?? However, Release was a fast read that was intriguing and captivating.

Overall, we really enjoyed this novel. It was rare, raw, heartbreaking and hopeful. Release was a story guided by loyalty, friendships, love and finding our own voices. We would recommend Release to those that love Young Adult Contemporary and enjoy books written by Patrick Ness. We loved this message that we gained from Release: Everyone deserves to find love and be loved.

Book Rating: 4/5 Stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

Hunted, by Meagan Spooner

Hunted, by Meagan Spooner.

Publisher: HarperTeen.

Published: March 14th 2017.

Page Length: 384 pages.

Genre: YA, Fantasy and Retelling.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest – and she tells us of stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life-long past. She reminds us of what we used to be. She reminds us of what we could be.”- Beast

Synopsis:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones – and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets, and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas… o to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory- a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin- or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Review:

Hunted, by Meagan Spooner is a haunting, graceful and badass written novel based off the well know tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. This is the first re-telling of Beauty and the Beast that we’ve actually gotten to read so far! From the freezing coldness, to the language of fairy tales, the theme deliberately portrays the beast’s unaccountable longing for something that can’t quite be placed.  This could be dissatisfaction of staying in the one place for far too long. Meagan Spooner powerfully captures this feeling of ‘wanting’ throughout this unique and imaginative world!

We loved how this book alternates between both Yeva (Beauty) and the Beast’s points of views. You easily see that neither of the pairs lives were easy. The Beast is looking for something or someone… a hunter of sorts. Yeva lives a nice and comfortable life – learning how to become a lady and apart of society, joining the baronessa’s court. Being a part of baronessa’s court gave ladies in the village a greater chance at marrying a wealthy husband. However, Yeva just can’t help but wish for more out of life. She craves for excitement, thrill and the sharp, rough draw of her bow. She desires the exhilarated life of a hunter.

We were definitely surprised that this re-telling is very un-romantic. There are no stolen kisses with a distant, somehow ‘magical beast’. The relationship between Yeva and the Beast is one between outsiders – who recognize the feeling of loneliness in one another. Yeva is a trained hunter, dedicated to her passion and her loving and loyal family.

The setting throughout this novel is familiar to a rural medieval perception of Russia. Our pages filled with freezing temperatures, ice and snow which added to the tale exceedingly well. Yeva and her father explore this snow-covered wilderness throughout their hunting. Yeva’s father begins to be overwhelmed by a beast with abilities, unlike any other. A beast that’s intelligent and manipulative.  A beast hunting the hunter.

When her father doesn’t return from a hunting trip, Yeva leaves her sisters to track him. However, his trail quickly disappears from the constant falling snow. On her journey, she unexpectedly finds more than what she bargained for. She finds a beast as well as a world of strange, imaginable creatures found in the pages of the fairy tales her father read to her as a child. Dragons, communicating animals, birds and foxes that play by a mixture of deceiving rules. However, Yeva knows these rules too, they’re the ones of fairy tales that she remembers listening to. The rules of threes, the order of curses and the rules of breaking them.

Yeva’s constant determination to kill the Beast and return home to her family is unforgettable. However, her pursuit to kill the un-killable creature unveils more secrets. The longer she spends in this world, the more she worries to what world she will return to as time moves slower in the mystical valley, where the Beast holds her captive.

Despite having loved this adaptation of a Beauty and the Beast tale, we just can’t shake the idea that what was mentioned throughout this novel should have been written in more detail. This could have been done to incorporate more action to describe Yeva’s quest that was meant to be long rather than short.

Although we found this issue, we still rather loved Hunted, by Meagan Spooner. For us, it was imaginable, unique and captivating. We just couldn’t put it down! We absolutely loved the theme and design on the book’s cover!

We recommend this read to those YA readers who love re-telling’s and a great Fantasy novel!

Try this book for yourselves and tell us what you thought. Let us know in the comments!

Book Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven.

Publisher: Penguin Random House and Knopf.

Published: January 6th 2015.

Page Length: 378 pages.

Genre: YA Contemporary.

“Sometimes Ultraviolet, things feel true to us even if they’re not” – Theodore Finch.

Review:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by the idea and concept of death. He consistently imagines the ways in which he might kill himself. However, each time something good happens, no matter how minor, halts him from committing the unchangeable act.

Violet Markey lives for her future, counting the days until she graduates. Until then, she can’t escape from her Indiana hometown. Violet is trying to escape her heart wrenching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of their school’s bell tower, it’s uncertain of who saves who of the ultimate decision. When they pair up on a school project to discover ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Violet and Finch discover themselves.

The two both find that they can only be their true selves around each other, not around the gossiping teenagers at school. Finch is a weird, funny, risk taking and down to earth guy who’s not such a geek after all! Finch helps Violet throughout the novel about counting down the days and to start living in the present. But as Violet’s world begins to transform, Finch’s begins to shatter!

We loved the premise of the story and how it develops over the course of the novel. Jennifer Niven assimilated the idea and concept of mental illness, depression and suicide throughout the plot of All the Bright Places in a logical and realistic way. She guides the reader to educate themselves on what mental illness is and what it can lead to. We caught a glimpse of the characters suffering from these thoughts and feeling and we saw their families and friends suffering as well.

We couldn’t just read All the Bright Places in one sitting as it’s gut wrenching, exhausting and heart breakingly sad. The ending definitely ruins your mood after reading as everything comes at you all at once, leaving us in a silent shock! This book re-enacts how mentally ill people can be treated and how hard it can be for them to survive constant negativity. This book described that those suffering can be doing so in silence without anyone knowing. This novel can educate everyone into showing awareness towards others, to constantly check on those around you and if they are ok.

Jennifer Niven does an amazing job of developing a shattering collision between two complete opposites, sharing their feelings of being lost. One who is contemplating suicide and the other who is surviving the loss of a sibling. Violet and Finch both need each other to find understanding, loyalty, friendship, love, help and acceptance.

We found that the development of the main characters was a little slow. Their dialogue was beautiful and overwhelming. However, it was forced at times. Although their relationship progressed at a slower rate, this helped represent what they were going through in their lives. Another development that we were confused by was that although Violet liked Finch, she appeared cold. This could have been due to the fact that she was indeed still grieving her sister’s death.

We found the novel to be a bit meh at times due to the connection between Violet and Finch not seeming as strong. Their also didn’t seem to be enough chemistry to fulfil their liking to each other. We did really love the idea and plot of All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven as it did give us a greater understanding towards mental illness and how to move forward from it.

We recommend this novel to young adult readers. But, we do recommend this read to more mature readers due to the content that it covers.

Book Rating: 3/5 stars.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass.

Publisher: HarperTeen.

Published: April 24th, 2012.

Page Count: 336 pages.

Genre: YA, Dystopian.

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind”.

Synopsis:

In a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels, The Selection is the chance of a lifetime: to compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s heart. But for America Singer it means turning her back on her secret love, and leaving home for a prize she doesn’t want.

Then America meets Maxon and all her plans start to crumble. Can the life she’s always dreamed of compare to a future she never imagined?

Review:

For thirty-five girls, The Selection is a chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To escape the caste that they were born into. To be then swept up in a world filled with glittering gowns and exquisite jewels. To be looked up to from girls all over the country. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of the attractive and dreamy, Prince Maxon.

However, for America Singer, being chosen as a selected is a horrible ordeal. It means leaving her loved ones behind. Including, turning her back on her secret love, Aspen. Aspen is a six who comes from America’s hometown. Aspen is also a caste below America. America leaves her life behind only to enter a vicious competition to win the heart of a man she doesn’t know. America also fears for a crown that she doesn’t want and fears entering a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then… America meets Prince Maxon Schreave!!! She cautiously starts to question all the plans and dreams she has made for herself! She realizes that the life she planned may not compare to the future that she never imagined.

We have completely fallen in love with the characters and of course the plot! We devoured this novel in just one sitting!

The Selection is a mixture between the Bachelor, The Hunger Games and the Red Queen! America Singer, being chosen as a selected, must compete for the heart of the prince during the middle of a caste turbulence when the rebels can strike at any moment! Although it is early on in America Singer’s story, we can clearly see her fighting to make a difference in society. This book is a re-read for us and although this book is just the beginning of America’s story, we fell in love with her story over the course of the next two novels, The Elite and The One! This has always been one of our go-to novels!

America with her flowing red hair is stubborn, bold, sarcastic, feisty, beautiful and most importantly, stands up and fights for what she believes in. Even if it gets her into trouble! America quickly becomes Maxon’s favourite out of the selected. However, she is distant and Maxon can’t fully give his heart to someone that might leave him or not want to take on the responsibility of the crown! This book has everything! Drama, gossip, tension, mystery, romance and conflict. Girls argue, gossip and fight, all wanting to become ‘the one’ that wins the heart of the prince. Although, many of the selected want to be ‘the one’ that takes the crown!

Prince Maxon is mysterious, generous and intriguing. At times, he is easy to influence, and is new to the whole world of dating. We love how Kiera Cass has shown Maxon and America’s interactions and the mysterious code they use to get each other’s attention for when they need to talk by tugging their ears. I know we will be tugging our ears whenever!!

Everyone I’ve spoken to who has read the book has either loved or hated The Selection. However, we can definitely say, we loved it! It was such a quick and easy read. The Selection has quickly become one of our guilty pleasures!

We absolutely loved The Selection by Kiera Cass. The Selection has an addicting plot and is unquestionably something that would cheer any one up. The Selection is such a sweet, heart-warming read that gave us the feels! We definitely recommend this read to those YA readers who love a little romance mixed into a dystopian world!

What would you fight for, ‘The Prince’ or ‘The Crown’?

Book Rating: 5/5 Stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon.

When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon.

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Publisher: Simon Pulse and Hachette Australia.

Release Date: 30th May 2017 .

Page Count: 320 pages.

Genre: YA, Romantic Comedy.

Firstly, a huge thank you to Hachette Australia and NetGalley for sending us an eBook copy to review!

Whilst we have been making an effort to read more diversely, we became particularly intrigued with the novel When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon. When we learned that the novel featured two Indian protagonists as it’s two main characters who enter a summer program for aspiring web developers, we became quite eager to begin reading this novel!

We absolutely loved this unique cover. Though we try not to judge a book by its cover, the cover had us sold from the minute we set eyes on it! When Dimple Met Rishi follows two Indian protagonists that meet at a Summer program for aspiring web developers. This computer programming competition runs for a total of 6 weeks. Throughout this debuting novel, both main characters’ struggle with balancing their parents’ expectations and culture traditions whilst discovering their own happiness. The pair both end up at the program for different reasons. Dimple, a massive computer programming nerd, see’s the competition as an opportunity. An opportunity to meet her programming idol, start making a name for herself and most importantly, escape her mother’s insistent idea that she finds an ideal Indian husband. Then there’s Rishi. A kind and passionate guy who leaves for the competition with the ambition of pleasing his parents in their traditions whilst hoping to meet his future wife.

We’re happy to say that When Dimple Met Rishi not only lived up to the hype for us, but it went well and beyond what we expected! The book was told in two different perspectives, from Dimple and Rishi’s points of view. This allowed us to explore two different views of the same culture. There were multiple scenes where we were laughing endlessly at the dialogue and the awkward situations the characters found themselves in. Rishi is the sweetest, most caring guy that always knew what to say in any situation. He is described as the nerdy love interest with an admirable optimism. Then there’s unique, outspoken Dimple, who’s opinion and ideas cannot be ignored. She is comfortable in her own skin and she is certain of what she wants to do with her future. Even ignoring particular expectations from those around her.

Throughout the course of the novel, the two characters slowly open up to each other, expressing their hopes and dreams that they can’t wait to explore. There personalities positively influence each other (this definitely surprised us after their disastrous first encounter). Sandhya Menon did an outstanding job weaving Indian culture into the story! This was unique as we have never read a book that has been wrapped around this concept. The messages that this book portrayed were definitely something that we should see more often! Sandhya Menon portrayed many different issues throughout this novel – the idea of staying friends but not being incorporated in the same friendship circle, to not be manipulated by peer pressure, to listen to our own hearts, to strive towards our own hopes and dreams and to not listen to other people’s expectations. This kept us hooked throughout the course of the novel.

We would have liked the author to have expanded on the development and coding of the overall app more. This would have added a finishing touch to the overall story.

We devoured this book in one sitting! We were very intrigued by the hate to love romance that Dimple and Rishi shared. We loved how we could both relate to the characters with their many unique and outspoken characteristics.

We would absolutely recommend this heart-warming, laugh out loud YA story! The humour in this novel was definitely constant! We are so excited for its release date on May 30th so that all of you can enjoy this debuting novel! It gave us all the gushy feels that we were hoping for. Make sure to get your hands on this amazing book. It will leave you breathless and wanting more!

We will definitely be reading future books by Sandhya Menon. She has us hooked!

Book Rating 4.5/5 Stars.