Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

Ugly crop

Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

Ugly was a tough read. Domestic abuse is a difficult subject, difficult to face, difficult to stand up to, difficult to write about. But that wasn’t only why I struggled with the book.

If the purpose of the story was to give victims the courage to get help, then it is everything it needs to be. Including the addition of contact numbers at the end.

But as a story, it didn’t quite deliver. With one-dimensional characters and long drawn out chapters, this was a book I couldn’t wait to finish. It was written devoid of emotion, almost like a documentary and I couldn’t quite reach Lily. I felt detached from the story as though I was hearing it 3rd hand. Sensitive to other people’s emotions I cry over books and movies all the time but with Ugly I just didn’t feel it.

It was only at the end, where skimming through the author’s acknowledgments that I realised it was based on true story. I am not sure if I would have felt differently if I had known that at the beginning, but it does put the events into perspective and make me more aware that maybe it could be a lifeline to someone one day.2 Star

Recommended age: 16+

Title: Ugly
Author: Margaret McHeyzer Ugly
Publication Date:
36 October 2015
Publisher: Margaret McHeyzer
Source: ARC
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If I were dead, I wouldn’t be able to see.
If I were dead, I wouldn’t be able to feel.
If I were dead, he’d never raise his hand to me again.
If I were dead, his words wouldn’t cut as deep as they do.
If I were dead, I’d be beautiful and I wouldn’t be so…ugly.
I’m not dead…but I wish I was.

— 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.

The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein

The Masterpiecers crop

The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein

 

I so wanted to love this book. The idea behind it is brilliant and I loved the original reality show and that the main characters (identical twins) are such unreliable narrators. They kept me guessing throughout the story.

As both characters are restricted by the boundaries of their unique environments, the supporting characters had a very big role to play. This is possibly where the essence of the book was lost. With no voice and little insight into their lives, the supporting characters were missing something, their characters shallow.

The story started off well, but about halfway through I started to feel it weaken. The plot had so many missing pieces and loose ends and not all had been revealed by the end.  I kept waiting for a twist or something to give clarity to the storyline.

There is a sequel planned so here’s hoping clarity is still to come.3 Star

Recommended age: 13+

 

Title: The MasterpiecersThe Masterpiecers x
Series: Masterful
Author: Olivia Wildenstein 
Publication Date: 15 April 2016
Source: ARC

 
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Nineteen-year-old Ivy Redd’s talent with a needle and thread has earned her a spot on a coveted reality TV art competition set in New York’s Metropolitan Museum. The prize: a significant amount of money and instant acceptance into the Masterpiecers, the school that ensures new artists fame and fortune. Her talent has also thrust her and her twin sister, Aster, into the spotlight. 

Not that Aster needed help with becoming a media favorite. She managed that on her own by running over a wanted mobster. She told the police it was self-defense, because she couldn’t tell them the truth—the truth would make her sister look bad.

Locked in an Indiana jail to await her trial, Aster watches Ivy on the small TV hanging in the dayroom. It’s the highlight of her day, until she finds out what her sister truly thinks of her. Then, observing her sister becomes a punishment far crueler than imprisonment.  — 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.

The Butterfly Code by Sue Wyshynski

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The Butterfly Code by Sue Wyshynski

The Butterfly Code by Sue Wyshynski. I was so conflicted with this book…

I really hate (too strong?) dislike the cover and had passed over the book on more than one occasion.

Late one night, not wanted to start a highly anticipated book when I had an early morning the next day, I found this title, conveniently at the top of my e-library shelf.

Boy was I in trouble, unable to put it down I read into the early hours and sleepily trying to concentrate the next day I found my thoughts drifting off… Who is the author, why haven’t read any of her books before…

Not my preferred genre, Sci-Fi has on the odd occasions clung to me begging to be read. Like Across the Universe, whose gorgeous cover was what attracted me, I often am so glad I branched out.

Butterfly Code was a book that, despite not really liking the futuristic side of it, was worth reading just for the writing style. Here I am, late at night again, typing this review and wishing… hoping the author decides to write more contemporary YA, because I’m going to want them all!4 Star

Recommended age: 14 +

Title: The Butterfly Code
Butterflycode reducedSeries: Transformations #1
Author: Sue Wyshynski
Publication Date:
15 October  2015
Publisher: Whitman Books
Source: ARC

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Aeris Thorne is expecting a restful vacation in the remote town of Deep Cove. But on a stormy night, she meets the alluring and mysterious Hunter Cayman, and her life takes an exhilarating turn. Aeris is both drawn to him and determined to find out what he’s hiding. But what Aeris doesn’t know is that he’s tormented by a secret: the truth behind his research. As he and Aeris are drawn together, the walls he’s built to protect himself threaten to crumble. At the same time, she uncovers clues to her own tragic past, answers she never thought to find–and a love she can’t resist despite the dark troubles it brings. When Aeris’s life is threatened, Hunter is forced to make an impossible decision about her future—one that could change everything.               — 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.

Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

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Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black. Drifting through this charming, but menacing book I got to know the easy-to-love Blue and watched as she discovered herself, slowly, bit by bit.

The vague, dreamy plot threading the story together was fun to read, but I was torn by the easy, contrived coincidences. Happy for the glimpses they showed of possible happy conclusions, but disappointed in their predictability which was more and more evident as the story panned out.
3 Star

Recommended age: 14+

 

Title: Devil and the BluebirdDevil and the Bluebird reduced
Author: Jennifer Mason-Black
Publication Date: 17 May 2016
Publisher:  Amulet Books
Source: ARC

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Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.

Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.   — Extract 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.

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

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

The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a beautifully written, enchanting novel that brings a breath of fresh air into the world of YA.

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

I know very little about Alaska, other than it’s my husband dream destination! But with Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s ability to make the history and culture of Alaska come alive, it’s now a place I would love to explore with him.

Recommended age: 13+4 Star

Title: The Smell of Other People’s Houses
Author: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Publication Date: 23 February 2016Other peoples houses
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Source: ARC

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In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
 
Four very different lives are about to become entangled.
— Abstract from Goodreads.com

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

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