Sunday, 23 March 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (87)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books, whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

I purchased one book this week - A Long Way Down, which I'm actually going to start reading straight away. Earlier this week, I went to the cinema to see The Book Thief (which I loved) and saw the trailer for the film adaptation of this book. Now I've seen the trailer, I really want to see this film, but I want to read the book first, so here's hoping that I can read it quickly!

I hope you've all had a great week! 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

From The Review Pile (88)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!


This week, I'm going to showcase Fire & Flood!
I have decided to feature Fire & Flood this week as my good friend Vickie (@ UTM Reviews) has recently read this book and has given it a top rating. I was quite excited about this book when it first arrived, and now I'm even more enthusiastic and hope to give it a read soon!

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Paperback, 366 pages

Published 6th March 2014 by Chicken House

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own. 

Tella's brother is dying. He's got cancer, and Tella is helpless to save him. Or so she thought. When an invitation arrives for Tella to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a deadly competition that will lead her through treacherous jungle and scorching desert, she doesn't think twice. Because the prize is a cure to any illness. But Tella will be facing more than just the elements.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Amy and Matthew

Amy & Matthew by Cammie McGovern
Paperback, 322 Pages

Expected Publication 27th March 2014 by Pan Macmillan

arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, contemporary, cover-appeal, if-i-were-a-boy, medical-conditions, mental-health, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, really-good, to-read, young-adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Amy loves Matthew and he loves her back. This is their story.
Amy is unflinchingly honest about her limitations. Born with cerebral palsy, she can’t walk or talk without help. But trapped inside this uncooperative body lies a brilliant mind and a luminous spirit – a girl capable of truly loving and worthy of being loved in return.
Matthew has his own set of challenges – a mind consumed by unwanted repeated thoughts, obsessive rituals and a crippling fear that he can't explain. But underneath all of the anxiety lies a deep seed of hope for someone to come along who believes in him…
This is the story of Amy and Matthew. It may not be a fairy tale romance or set in an imagined world far from our own. But the love they share is real. And yes, there's magic in it.

Just when I thought I was maybe growing 'out' of young adult books, along came Cammie McGovern, and alongside her came Amy and Matthew, reminding me exactly why I fell in love with YA in the first place. 

Amy and Matthew seems like a book that was written for me - it contains everything I love and most importantly, two imperfect protagonists who were easy to admire from the very beginning. Both characters have diagnosable 'disabilities', Amy has Cerebral Palsy and Matthew has OCD. Though both conditions can be very disabling, the characters certainly don't just sit back and let their problems dominate them, which is probably the main reason why I admired them so much. Their lives are undoubtedly affected, as anybody who has (or who has had) an illness will know, and it that's certainly a largely covered issue in the book, but I absolutely loved, and was so relieved, that the personalities of the characters were at the forefront. I enjoyed seeing how the two characters leaned on each other and how their relationship helped improve their wellbeing. 

Amy and Matthew learn a lot about themselves through each other and this creates such a perfect chemistry between the two and it's something very special.   Amy and Matthew are, quite simply, perfect for each other. If I was Amy, I would love a guy like Matthew, and if I was Matthew, I'd love a girl like Amy. I don't think that anybody could deny that. The two characters are really quite different and that is patly why they work so well together. Though Amy is less physically able than Matthew, she's perhaps slightly stronger emotionally, where as Matthew is more physically able but has a harder time with his emotions. I was very interested to see what Amy was really like, what she really thought and felt, as she seemed like, and was, a very complex person. I can only imagine what it must be like to be in her situation, but I think that McGovern portrayed her amazingly well. I liked seeing how both characters changed throughout the book - I was particularly impressed with Matthew's improvements and recovery.

As someone who has both chronic physical pain and mental illnesses, from what I understand of Amy and Matthew's issues, they were described well and I am glad that their issues were portrayed in a very frank, but not hyperbolic way. I sympathised with them, but didn't pity them. It is good to finally be able read a book about real people with real issues, trying to lead a normal lifestyle.

I hope it's clear how much I loved this book! It's difficult to write in a review, as you really do have to 'meet' Amy and Matthew through reading. I can not thank McGovern enough for getting me back into this genre and reminding me of everything I love about contemporary YA. Amy and Matthew is definitely one of the top YA books out there at the moment. Move over, The Fault In Our Stars and make way for Amy and Matthew! 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Caroline & West/Deeper

This month marks the UK release of the hotly anticipated New Adult book, Deeper, the first in a set of books focusing on Caroline & West. This is a book that has had absolute rave reviews and almost non-stop praise from world-wide fans already, so it's definitely one of, if not the New Adult book to look out for.  

For my part in the blog tour, I'll be sharing my review of Deeper with you.
Here it is - enjoy!

Deeper by Robin York
Paperback, 400 Pages

Expected Publication 6th March 2014 by Piatkus

arc-or-review, contemporary, drink-and-drugs, erotica, new-adult, read, read-in-2014, realistic-fiction, series-or-companions
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

When Caroline Piasecki's ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn't look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear; hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defence and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he's shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger - even after promising her dad she'll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they're 'just friends,' their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself - and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

Deeper is a book that has had a lot of really rave reviews and as someone wanting to check out the offerings in the recently highly popular New Adult genre, I knew that this would have to be one of those definite to-reads for me. Deeper is a book that deals with and portrays what seems to be a real problem today, an issue known as 'Revenge Porn'. 

Deeper explores the life of Caroline, a college girl who has had sexual pictures of herself posted all over the internet, thanks to her ex-boyfriend, Nate. This behaviour is known as 'Revenge Porn'. I've never read any books on this subject before, but it seems like a very modern issue that we really should be reading about - it's certainly not something that is rare in our technology-obsessed society. I can't say that I've ever thought about the issue of revenge porn, but this book really brings to life how it easily it can happen and how easily things are shared amongst people. Caroline finds all of her life has been negatively affected by the photos, and we see how near-impossible it is to remove one post from the internet. I think that the author, York, has done a fantastic thing by bringing this topic to life and writing it realistically. 

As you'd expect, Caroline isn't having the best time at college, but things start to change after she sees a guy she doesn't know all that well, West Leavitt punching Nate. Despite his shady reputation, Caroline is intrigued by West and begins to spend time with him, their chemistry building each time they meet. We learn more about West, and it's easy to see why Caroline is so attracted. We find out that West is from a poor, unstable background and works his hardest to ensure his young sister is safe and cared for, he is absolutely devoted to her, their relationship feeling more like one between a father and daughter. When West is at college, working on making a better life for his sister, he makes bread during the night and sells home-grown weed with freshly baked muffins. West is absolutely irresistible, both physically and personality-wise throughout this book and it's completely understandable why Caroline is so attracted to him. We get to read from West's POV throughout the book, which I found equally as interesting as Caroline's POV, if not more. 

As for Caroline herself, I neither loved nor disliked her, she was a character that seemed like an average girl of her age - I don't think that she had any extreme personality traits or eccentricities, but I think that this actually benefits the way that the issue of revenge porn - it was easy to connect with her and imagine her situation. I did admire the fact that she was proactive and did something about her situation, and didn't just shy away from reality. I liked her to-the-point contributions.

I have to say, there were a few things that I had to adjust to in this book - I can't deny that I found some of the phrases/sentences quite cringe-inducing at points, but after adjusting to the book and York's writing, it didn't bother me so much. Naturally, being a new adult book, the book is full of sexual tension and well, the rest, and I really don't think anybody will be disappointed in that aspect - York really has excelled herself there! Again, some of the phrases felt a little crude which put me off, but I did adjust to the writing. 

Overall, I can see why Deeper is already globally popular and I for one have certainly been left wanting more West! I admire York for both tackling such a big issue and creating a story that I could really engage with. I will be looking forward to learning more about Caroline and West and sharing their new experiences in the next book!

I hope that you enjoyed my review and that it's made you interested in this book! Below is a list of the previous and upcoming spots in the UK blog tour for Deeper.

Thank you to Piaktus for providing the material for me to participate in this tour!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (86)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books, whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

I very excitedly accepted and received one book for review this week. I absolutely love the sound of In Bloom and I would imagine that a lot of you will too! I am even more enthusiastic than usual about this book though, as it's also set in a place where I grew up. I am really looking forward to picking this one up, so hopefully you won't have to wait too long for a review of this one!

I hope you've all had a good week!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (85)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,

whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

 I received one book for review this week and it is one that I'm extremely excited about as it's written by David Levithan, an author who has written some books that I've absolutely loved in the past (especially Every Day - if you haven't read that, go and buy it now!). I have very high hopes for this book and I'm really grateful to have an advanced copy to delve in to!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Dandelion Clocks

This month marks the UK release date of the latest middle grade/young adult must have book, Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott. The book follows eleven year old Olivia as she starts growing up and alongside that, has to deal with her mum's terminal illness. Dandelion Clocks may be a bit of a tear jerker at points, but author Rebecca Westcott has provided me with something that's bound to cheer you up!
 Here is an extract of Rebecca's actual diary when she was around Olivia's age:

March 1987 (aged 12)

Dear Diary,

Today has been such a cool day. Had a flute lesson at school which meant that I didn’t have to do stupid science. Excellent! Especially as my science teacher hates me and is always telling me to be quiet. Had a library session in English so I just got to sit in the corner and read Blubber. Now I want to read all of Judy Blume’s books – they’re so cool!
There’s been some scary stuff in the news about kids getting kidnapped and pulled into cars so Mum has got me an attack alarm. It’s very orange. I’m really scared about setting it off cos I think it’s meant to burst your eardrums or something, so I’ve hidden it under all my books, right at the bottom of my school bag.
Mum gave me and Elizabeth some butterscotch Angel Delight for pudding. My favourite! The first thing I am going to do when I grow up is buy a packet and eat the whole lot ON MY OWN without sharing.
Off to watch Grange Hill now. Mum’s finally agreed that I’m allowed to watch it but she keeps coming into the living room to check that it’s suitable. I really, really like Zammo A LOT.

Thank you to both Rebecca and those at Puffin for providing me with this content.
Dandelion Clocks is available to purchase on 6th March. I hope you enjoy it!