Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher

Lessons in Falling

Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher

Lessons in Falling is about friendships, how they evolve and the dangers of losing yourself to a stronger character. It has a vital message regarding finding yourself and the negative effects of xenophobia, more relevant today than ever before.

I love books based almost entirely on characterisations and was really looking forward to this promising story. While I did enjoy it, I didn’t get the feel of the characters and as a result, the story fell flat. The friendship between Savannah and Cassie was complicated, but despite the strength of her character, I didn’t get a sense of her and this meant her character’s impact was diluted.

The storyline was predictable and without strong characterisation Lessons in Falling didn’t get quite off the ground. Rather hovering around the ‘it’s okay’ line.  The exception (yes there is one character her who really stood out) was Marcos. While I loved the slow, slow burning romance, it was his easy friendships, protectiveness and his reactions to the racial encounters that kept me turning the pages. His spark grew during the story and I would love to hear his POV.

It was no surprise, reading further about the author, that she is a gymnast herself. This came through in her explanations and references on the sport, particularly the self-doubt and fear which can affect the performance.

3 Star

 

Recommended age: 12+

Title: Lessons in FallingLessons in Falling
Author:  Diana Gallagher
Publication Date: 7 February 2017
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: Review copy
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When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee –and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.

That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.

Savannah wants to understand what happened, but Cassie refuses to talk about it and for the first time, Savannah has to find her own way. The only person she can turn to is Marcos, the boy who saved Cassie’s life. Being with him makes her see who she could be and what she really wants: gymnastics.

But Cassie doesn’t approve of Marcos or of Savannah going back to gymnastics, and the tighter she tries to hold onto Savannah, the farther it pulls them apart. Without Cassie to call the shots, Savannah discovers how capable she is on her own—and that maybe her best friend’s been holding her back all along.   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Things I Should Have Known

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Ivy’s voice is quieter; I have to strain to hear her response.

Things I Should Have Known is a book that will probably lodge itself under your skin like it did to me. A conventional read? Yes. Original? No. But it is realistic, meaningful, really witty and supportive. The characters complex and feasible.

And there’s something innocent and vulnerable about her that makes me want to protect her. Something almost Ivy-like.

Well written with a substantial message. This is a book that should be in every high school library.

4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Things I Should Have Known
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Publication Date: 28 March 2017things-i-should-have-known-claire-lazebnik
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Review copy

 

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From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.

Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.     — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

The Elusive 2016 Releases

The Elusive 2016 Releases (Which I totally intend to find)

2016 came and went in a whirlwind and despite reading 147 books there are so many titles that I just didn’t get to, but HAVE TO READ this year. I need more time to read. #bookwormproblem1

Most of these have been on my TBR for ages and I wanted needed them as soon as I saw them on Goodreads. #bookwormproblem2 These are the ones I am going to hunt down and capture.

I know there are far more than the 10 I should have. But don’t panic. Not unless you hear am muffled sound that may or may not be me buried alive by TBR. #bookwormproblem3. Then rush to save me (and bring apple pie).

2016 books

The 2016 books that I actually own (This makes it even sadder that I haven’t read them yet…)

 

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal SutherlandOur Chemical Hearts

John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again. – Goodreads.com

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The Thousandth Floor

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118. A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose. – Goodreads.com

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The Lost & Found The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno

Sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found. Setting off from opposite coasts, Frannie and Louis each embark on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find important things the other has lost. – Goodreads.com

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With MaliceWith Malice by Eileen Cook

For fans of We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train comes a chilling, addictive psychological thriller about a teenage girl who cannot remember the last six weeks of her life. – Goodreads.com

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You Know Me WellYou Know Me Well by Nina LaCour David Levithan

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more. – Goodreads.com

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The 2016 books that I still need to get my grabby hands on

 

The Girl from EverywhereThe Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. But for the first time, she is entering unknown waters… – Goodreads.com

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After the Woods by Kim SavageAfter the Woods by Kim Savage

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?  Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks… – Goodreads.com

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this-is-our-storyThis Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Five went in. Four came out. No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.  -Goodreads.com

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The Sun is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. – Goodreads.com

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sister rosaMy Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

What if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year-old sister? A spine-chilling psychological thriller from one of Australia’s finest YA authors.  -Goodreads.com

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Outrun the MoonOutrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. – Goodreads.com

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This Is Where It EndsThis Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. – Goodreads.com

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Walk the EdgeWalk the Edge by Katie McGarry

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds. – Goodreads.com

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This Adventure EndsThis Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens. – Goodreads.com

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany (Adaptation), Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. – Goodreads.com

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This Savage SongThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab 

There’s no such thing as safe. Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song – Goodreads.com

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Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

2017 Debuts You Need to TBR

The 2017 Debuts You Need to TBR
(To Be Read)

A previous post flailing about the 2017 books I am excited to read contains some debuts so I won’t be repeating these, but honourable mentions go to the following: (Covers link to Goodreads)

Definitions of Indefinable Things

Caraval

You Don't Know My Name

Wait For Me

Wintersong

When Dimple Met Rishi

One of Us Is Lying

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for this week’s list of upcoming 2017 debut releases…

 

 What Alice Knew by TA Cotterell

What Alice KnewHow far would you go to keep a secret?

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.  – Goodreads.com

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City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

City of Saints & ThievesIn the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist.

After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller. – Goodreads.com

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Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Song of the CurrentCaroline Oresteia has always been destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. But at seventeen, Caro may be too late.

So when pirates burn ships and her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport a dangerous cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name.

But when the cargo becomes more than Caro expected, she finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies. With much more than her father’s life at stake, Caro must choose between the future she knows, and the one she never could have imagined. – Goodreads.com

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Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Almost Missed YouViolet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.  – Goodreads.com

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 Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn

 Flight RiskTeenage trailer trash. Airplane thief. Outlaw. Folk-hero. 18-year-old Robert Jackson Kelley is on the run after fleeing a juvenile home and stealing not one, but three airplanes. Inspired by a true story, FLIGHT RISK is a briskly paced, sophisticated YA novel reminiscent of the film “Catch Me If You Can.”

Robert’s exploits make him both a fugitive and a national celebrity. Son of a single mother and jailed father, Robert struggles with severe ADHD, but discovers he can focus in one place: the pilot’s seat. Soon simulated flights don’t offer enough of an escape from his small island community, and Robert finds himself piloting his first stolen aircraft. Told in a collage style using multiple points of view, the myth and the reality of Robert’s flight from the law unfold simultaneously. – Goodreads.com

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Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

Wicked Like a WildfireAll the women in Iris and Malina’s family are born with a gleam—a unique way of manipulating beauty through magic. Seventeen-year-old Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, her twin sister Malina interprets moods as music, and their cold, distant mother Jasmina bakes scenery into decadent treats at her confectionery in Old Town Cattaro, Montenegro.

Jasmina forbids Iris and Malina to share their gleams with anyone, and above all, she forbids them to fall in love—being discovered could shatter the quiet lives they’ve built in their tucked-away, seaside town. But Iris and Malina are tired of abiding by their mother’s rules and rebel in secret whenever they can.

Yet when a mysterious, white-haired woman attacks their mother and leaves her hovering between life and death, the sisters unearth an ancient curse that haunts their line—a wicked bargain that masquerades as a blessing, and binds the twins’ fates—and hearts—to a force larger than life. To save each other, they must untangle a thousand years of lies and reveal their own hurtful secrets. But even the deepest sacrifice might not be enough.  – Goodreads.com

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What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard 

What I LostSixteen-year-old Elizabeth has honed a dangerous skill: starving herself.

Even when her parents send her to a treatment center, she can’t stop. Then she begins receiving packages from someone she doesn’t know. Is it a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?

In the end, Elizabeth determines the identity of the gift-giver—it’s someone totally unexpected, whose intentions are good. And, even more important, she finds a way to play an active role in her recovery. – Goodreads.com

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Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor

SycamoreWhile Bryn Chancellor has published Short Stories, this is her first novel.

Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine.

As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since.

In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives. – Goodreads.com

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 A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl

A Psalm for Lost GirlsTess da Costa is a saint — a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that’s what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess’s sainthood official. Tess’s mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted – overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.

The fervor for Tess’s sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who’s been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess’s shrines. It’s the final straw for Callie.

With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend Danny, Callie’s determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie’s investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for: a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana’s kidnapping. – Goodreads.com

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 You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

 You're Welcome, Universe When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural. 

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war. – Goodreads.com

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Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Illuminae Will Be My First Read of the Year

First Read of the Year

Illuminae Will Be My First Read of 2017

Prompted by The Book Journey my first read of the year has been preplanned. I will be reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.

This tag is actually good for me as although I own my own paperback copy, bought a couple of months ago on a trip to Singapore, I’ve put off reading it because of the scary, enormous hype surrounding it. #bookwormproblem1

I am so worried it will not live up to expectations and I will be left disappointed. By choosing it to read for this tag I am forcing myself to pick it up and stop its threatening stare from the TBR pile. #bookwormproblem2

I love the cover and orange & red are my favourite colours. I’ve used it a few times in my #bookstagram photos on Instagram.

Watch this space. I’ll let you know what I think.

Want to participate in The Book Journey’s First Book Of The Year 2017 tag? The link is on the image below.

1st book of the year tag

More about Illuminae via Goodreads.com

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

December 2016 Books With Wings

Books With Wings

#BooksWithWings

December 2016 Books With Wings. This December, while traveling home for Christmas, I left three books in random places to become #BooksWithWings. Two were released in Singapore and one in South Africa.

A fellow school librarian recently recommended a handy website Bookcrossing.com which facilitates the tracking of the books. *Great idea for a school library project. Each book is given a unique tracking number which is written in the book, along with instructions on how to record each capture. While my books have yet to been registered as caught, I’m going to optimistically believe that they are being enjoyed by someone, somewhere! It would be fun to follow their journey from reader to reader., but the record keeping is not as important to me as the thought that I may make someone happy.

Although the books I have released so far have been in large international airports, I don’t think anyone should be put off sharing books just because they don’t have to opportunity to travel. Leave a book in your local coffee shop/doctor’s room/hospital/retirement village/supermarket/school/homeless shelter… the list is endless. It’s not important how far the book travels, it still has the opportunity to bring joy to someone else.

Beautiful Broken ThingsBeautiful Broken Things

I was brave. She was reckless. We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. – Goodreads.com

Wild release notes
Released in the wild on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at the free internet kiosk in Terminal 2 Transit area, Changi International Airport, Singapore.

 

Holding Up the UniverseHolding up the Universe

When Libby and Jack get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—they are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours. – Goodreads.com

 

Wild release notes
Released in the wild on Wednesday 14 December 2016 next to a water feature in Terminal 3 Transit area, Changi International Airport, Singapore.

 

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking… – Goodreads.com

Wild release notes
Released in the wild on Thursday 15 December 2016 near Gate E3 domestic departure lounge, OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa

Have you ever released or caught a book in the wild? I would love to hear about your experiences.

2017 Books You Need To Pre-Order Now

  • 2017 Books You Need To Pre-Order

The abundance of new books due for release in 2017 is  disturbing because my TBR is already killing me slightly threatening. Does everyone else have the same problem with piles of must-read books?

Kind as I am, I thought we’d play dare with these To-Be-Read book stacks. So here is a list of the do-not-miss 2017 books. Of course, because you are always obedient just before Christmas while Santa creepily stalks is watching, you are going to pre-order them today to ensure they are available to read on release day. Unless you are ordering real books that have to be shipped. But then you still win because yay! book post is the best.

 

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

Definitions of Indefinable Things My 5 Star Review 
Definitions of Indefinable Things is one of those rare books where I totally lost myself in the feels. It is brilliant… read more

This heartbreaking, humourous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected. Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in. – Goodreads.com

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

CaravalCaraval has encountered a huge following already. The hype proclaiming great things. I hope that I won’t  be disappointed.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game. – Goodreads.com

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Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Everything You Want Me to BeI love thrillers and this looks like it’s going to be very good. And scary.

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death. – Goodreads.com

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange The DreamerIf I haven’t force-fed you Laini Taylor’s  Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy you are exceptionally unlucky. Go to jail immediately and do not pass go. My desperate attempt to share the books that grace the top of my all-time favourites has reached you. Come back when you’ve flailed sufficiently.

It is no wonder Strange the Dreamer is on my list, and I have been waiting ever so impatiently for its release! Although to be honest I can’t make head or tail of the abstract! What does it mean? But anyway it’s Laini Taylor and I trust her. I think.

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 to lose his dream forever. – Goodreads.com

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

WintersongGoblins? I’m in. And OMG! Have you seen the cover! There was never any doubt that this belongs on my bookshelf.

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell. – Goodreads.com

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Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano

Lost GirlsApparently I am a sucker for thrillers.

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life. – Goodreads.com

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Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Wait For MeTotally fascinated by World War II, I tend to gravitate to these books and then spend the time alternating between horror and tears. I don’t remember ever reading one set in Scotland (the land of my ancestors) so here goes. I’m all in.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country? – Goodreads.com

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You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando

You Don't Know My NameSpies. Weapons. Mortal combat. All good.

Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy. Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan. – Goodreads.com

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying A thriller. Again. Need I say more?

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.- Goodreads.com

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiAfter all the scary, bloody mess of the thrillers you’ll need a dab of humour. You are very welcome.

 A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. Goodreads.com

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Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Puck by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Puck

Puck by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Puck was an unexpected treat, I  initially passed it over because the cover is uninspiring (Yes I am that shallow! Covers are the first impression they play a huge part in my decision to add to already overwhelming TBR).  It also sounded like a summer-camp type story and I have yet to find one of those I like. Then title and main character Puck (aka Robin) hinted at a Shakespearean retelling and (hangs head in shame) Shakespeare and I are not the best of friends.

I’m very happy to be wrong!

I’m very happy to be wrong! I was totally sucked into this book.

A loose retelling of Midsummer’s Night Dream, Puck is gripping from start to finish. Its secrets are released slowly keeping the anticipation on a high. I couldn’t bear to put it down, needing to keep reading #DoNotDisturb.

The characters are brilliant. Realistic and so relatable, I just want more of them (hoping there is a sequel). I would love to know what happens at the next camp.

Go and pick it up today

I’m so glad I took a chance on this read. Don’t let the cover put you off. Go and pick it up today so it can weave its spell on you.

4 Star

 

Recommended age: 12+

Title: Puck
Series: Twisted Lit
Authors:
Kim Askew & Amy HelmesPuck
Publication Date:
15 November 2016
Publisher:
Source: Review copy

 

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Life isn’t always fair, and no one knows that better than fifteen-year-old Puck. When she’s unceremoniously booted from yet another foster home, this city kid lands at DreamRoads, a rehabilitation wilderness camp. Her fellow juvenile delinquents include a famous pop star with a diva attitude, a geeky, “fish out of water” math whiz, and a surly gang-banger with a chip on his shoulder. The program’s steely director aims to break Puck, but she knows that every adult has a breaking point, too. Determined to defy this realm of agonizing nature hikes and soul-sucking psychobabble — even if that means manipulating four lovestruck camp counselors and the director’s dim-witted second-in-command — Puck ultimately gets much more than she bargains for in this “wondrous strange” outdoor odyssey inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding up the Universe

Holding Up The Universe … where do I start? I am probably going to rain on everyone’s parade because this is my biggest disappointment of 2016.  I must be the only person in the world who hasn’t gone crazy over this book. I just don’t get the fuss and hype.

Is it good? Well, it’s not awful, but I didn’t find anything special about it. No spark. No fizz. It’s sweet, in a cheesy, patronising happily-ever-after, rainbow filled, unicorn dancing kind of way.

Realistic? Not even a little drop of realism there. It may have fared better as a fantasy. How can I judge? I’ve been there. Overweight teen, bullied… I have been there. I am there.

The clichés and miracle type coincidences

Clichés and miracle type coincidences in spades. They just kept on coming.

Spoiler box alerts ahead

The clichés & coincidences

Two extreme, diverse cases of ill-health in one town… in one street. They are in the same school. They have a past. They help each other. They fall in love

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Then to top it all there is one HUGE omission and some confusing times…

The omission

Jack’s family ignore his 18th birthday. Nothing. He pretends to be sick and no one cares. Hello. It’s his birthday! Yes, there was some dysfunction in his family, but nowhere near as extreme to be an excuse to forget his birthday.

[collapse]

Things that had me confused

No one knew?

I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that none of Jack’s family realised he had a disability. It would have been more believable if at least one of them, possibly his little brother who was so close to him, to be in on his secret.

[collapse]
The confession

Then there is the sudden desire to confess to Libby. Why here, why now? He has acted like a jerk many times before while trying to hide in plain sight.

[collapse]
Weight loss without commitment

Being so overweight that a crane is required to leave the house is rare. This is not just obese and it’s not easy to lose that weight. Although there are many mentions of how hard it was, Libby appears to miraculously keep the weight off and has no worries about stretch marks or lose skin. Other than a little dancing in her bedroom she apparently has no regular exercise, no gym, dance classes… This makes the weight loss message come across as patronising to all those who are trying to lose weight. Anyone who has had to lose a considerable amount of  weight would have a regular exercise routine in place. It’s hard work.

[collapse]

I so wanted to love this book.  I wanted to join in on all the fangirling. But alas I am sitting alone wondering what is wrong with me #bookwormproblems2 Star

Recommended age: 12+

Title: Holding Up The Universe holding-up-the-universe-1
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publication Date: 6 October 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Purchased
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Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

Must-Read 2016 New Releases

Must Read 2016 New Releases

Must-Read 2016 New Releases

2016 has been a great year for reading. Not only did Netgalley and Edelweiss approve some of my requests for review copies, while traveling I purchased many new books – long before they were released in South Africa or Indonesia. I smashed my Goodreads challenge and released my first #BooksWithWings book into the wild.

But which of all the new 2016 releases I read during the year stand out? The must-read books that need to be shouted from the rooftops? Surprisingly  these are all 5-star reads – I don’t give out 5 stars lightly. But anyone who stayed still long enough for me to force them to read brighten their day knows just how much I loved them.

This is my list of 2016’s Must-Read New Releases

 

under rose-tainted skiesUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

I didn’t expect it to touch me as much as it did. It was real and sad but at the same time full of hope. Read more of my review

Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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Three Dark CrownsThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

With the combination of superb characters and the rich storyline which flows like thick treacle, oozing with venom,  this is a book I will not forget. So very dark. Read more of my review

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Abstract from Goodreads.com

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue HitchcockThe Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Invited into the homes of Alaskan families, I discovered warm, rich characters whose lives interweave in extraordinary ways. Read more of my review

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Four very different lives are about to become entangled.  Abstract from Goodreads.com

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All the Missing GirlsAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

An original, unpredictable story line and a very unusual format. Read more of my review

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. — Abstract from Goodreads.com


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Recoil by Joanne MacgregorRecoil by Joanne Macgregor

Recoil is an unpredictable, fast-paced, exhilarating ride. Read more of my review

When a skilled gamer gets recruited as a sniper in the war against a terrorist-produced pandemic, she discovers there’s more than one enemy and more than one war. The Game is real. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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The Way I Used to BeThe Way I Used to Be  by Amber Smith

An emotional rollercoaster that I am so glad I got on. Read more of my review

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.— Abstract from Goodreads.com

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heartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer

I gobbled this book, dreaming of the characters. Trying to savour the flavours but instead gulping it almost all at once – like an unexpected treat that could be snatched away at any moment. Read more of my review

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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1P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West

The richly layered fudge cake characters were climb-under-my-skin and sprinkle-crumbs-over-pajamas. The kind of characters who are now your best friends because you know and love them. Read more of my review

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery? While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk!  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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The Summer Before ForeverThe Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers

I loved the unique, edgy characters, but the real plus is the inclusion, and positive portrayal, of a learning difficulty. Read more of my review

Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs  — Abstract from Goodreads.com 

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And I Darken by Kiersten WhiteAnd I Darken by Kiersten White

Dark at times, with a rich deeply layered plot and well-developed characters. Intrigue, espionage, treason, murder, betrayal, loyalty and lies interspersed with love and swords. Read more of my review

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

 

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