The BookTube Newbie Tag!

Hi Guys!

Now I know I’ve been very absent this last year but I’ve recently decided to join Booktube! I will continue blogging, but my content will be a little different from what I used to do. I will be posting full length reviews and uploading my videos here as well. From now on most of the features I do will be filmed.

Otherwise I’m very excited to be back! I missed out on so much!

Jessica Shirvington’s Between The Lives blew my mind

betweenthelivesBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Published: (this edition) August 2014 by Orchard Books 

Genre: Romance, Contemp/Fantasy

Format: eBook

Rating: An impressive gust! Four birdies

I received an ecopy of Between the Lives to review from Netgalley – this in no way effects my opinion

The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her ‘other’ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she’s always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she’ll choose?

A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives – this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience

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A book with heartfelt meaning, overflowing with messages and exploding with serious questions and concepts – I really loved this carefully plotted story

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Between the Lives was creepy, awesome, interesting and meaningful. This is my first read from Shirvington, and I’m impressed! I really enjoyed this book and its quirkiness. The only downside for me was that the romance was a little rushed, but otherwise, I have nothing but good to say!

Between the Lives follows Sabine, who literally lives a double life. She resides in two different realities, where she is the same, but her situation is not. She “shifts” every 24 hours at midnight into a her other life. The story takes place after Sabine realizes a difference in her lives that could change everything.

First up, I really loved the concept and I totally congratulate Shirvington for writing it so carefully. I love the idea of having lives in two different realities and being aware of them. I could see so many opportunities for plot holes and inconsistencies, except there weren’t any. Nope. They were carefully avoided or they were explained in detail. Which is awesome! My mind kept trying to pick at things, but it couldn’t. Leaving me to read in peace.

I really enjoyed the characters in Between the Lives, though some were a bit cliché. It’s hard for me to say if Sabine was developed or not, because, she was two different people. But then again, even though she was different, it was because she forced herself to be different, and it’s that underlying voice that we get a real picture of. She’s the same person with this ideal that she has to be a certain way in each world; not understanding that she can just be herself.

Meaning! This book was more than just your action packed, tell-a-story book, but it held meaning and depth which I just love. Life should be treasured is one meaning, whilst the other I saw was about being yourself. I thought both were explored and portrayed really well!

In saying this, I didn’t believe the romance in Between the Lives. It was there, but I think it was a little too rushed to have the depth it was meant to have. I almost believed it, but I needed a little more connection and a little slower/ more gradual climax for total impact.

Otherwise, Between the Lives had just enough description to satisfy my needs, and I liked how each world was complex, how everything wasn’t perfect or bad. Her journey to deciding which life is better is interesting and sets up some great questions!  I didn’t quite connect with the romance, though the plot, characters and messages the book explores are great! I definitely recommend Between the Lives!

  • The content in Between the Lives is explicit. I recommend for older teens and up.

myrating

justbreezy!

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – I FEEL you!

amyandrogerAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

Genre: YA, Contemporary 

Published: May, 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Rating: Blew me away. 5 birdies.

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way 

 

  Such an adorable coming of age, grieving, healing, adventure, romance book! It was light, but serious. And I could totally and completely empathize.

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My first Morgan Matson book! Can I just say, I’m really happy that Kayla from The Thousand lives recommended this? Such an adorable coming of age, grieving, healing, adventure, romance book! It was light, but serious. And I could totally and completely empathize.

The book starts at the beginning of a road trip with college boy Roger, after a horrible accident splits Amy’s family apart. I honestly had no idea what to expect going into this book. I first thought it would just be a cute, fun romance. But oh, was I wrong. It was so much more and loved it all the same.

I’ll begin by saying that I was surprised at how much I could not only sympathize, but empathize. I’m lucky in that I have never had a close family member or friend pass away. Only a few pets, which I suppose is still traumatic. So whenever I read a book that deals with extreme grieving, I get a little wary. Because I almost never, ever quite understand. I can imagine it, but without ever having gone through it myself, I never fully understand what people must be going through.

This book was different though. I found myself crying uncontrollably and I felt like I understood Amy. The way in which she acted was totally believable. I feel like I might act in a similar manner if this happened to me.

Matson, what have you done to me?

I was so surprised by this. Especially since the rest of the book was so distracting. Like, I want to travel to America just so I can go on a road trip. I just don’t think it would be as fun in Aus.

Along with Amy, I really liked Roger’s character. I didn’t understand him as much, but he still felt real to me. Kind of like that elusive, but laid back, down to earth boy. Dreamy.

And I loved how little a role the romance played in the end. I was worried that it would be one of those cases where “love healed me”. But no – Roger certainly helped, yes, but it was not because they had some epic romance going on. He was just supportive. The detour is what really aided in Amy’s healing. All the people she met, places she had seen, state motto’s she recorded. She discovered life again through the simple things.

And I adored the scrapbooking parts between chapters. Such a cute addition!

SPOILER – highligt paragraph to view. 

I just wanted to add that the “accident” really resonated with me. Ever since I started driving, I have this fear of lights. I hate them. I hate coming up to a green one when it changes because I’m so bad at judging distances and if I have enough time to stop. I’m scared of being the one that runs the light. And I’m scared of leaving the intersection and colliding with someone else running the light. Maybe that’s one reason why I cried so hard. It was like, my worst fear come to life.

SPOILER End

My emotions are so mushy about this book. There isn’t really anything I can fault. I loved the characters and concept, and for the first time, can emphasize with grief.  And I now have a strong desire to road trip it. In America.

Thanks a lot Morgan Matson </3 >.< ❤myrating

storm

Mixed feelings about Mercy by Rebecca Lim

mercyMercy (Mercy #1) by Rebecca Lim

Genre: YA, paranormal (angels)

Published: October, 2010 by Angus&Robertson

Format: Paperback

My rating: Sweetly soft. 3 Birdies. 

Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business — or thinks they do. But they will never guess the secret Mercy is hiding ….

As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams.

In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercy′s blood and they won′t rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesn′t remember committing …

I don’t know what to think about Mercy. It was a quick, enjoyable read – yet it was lacking something.

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I’m in two minds about Mercy. I really liked it, but I didn’t at the same time. Mercy is obviously a story about Angels. However, Mercy is almost ignorant to this aspect of herself. Like she has amnesia. All she knows is that her soul travels between person to person, where she has a job to carry out – such as preventing the person from dying or self destruction.

I like how Mercy doesn’t really know who she is. Normally things like that are annoying, but I like the layer of mystery it presents. If she was aware, we would just have all the knowledge and wouldn’t really feel like reading. Overall, the plot was well paced and present throughout the story. It was never pushed back, paused or put aside for another event. The plot just kept rolling, making it somewhat enjoyable and non-difficult to read.

I really liked Mercy’s character as well. Despite making me frustrated at her naïve-ness, she was straight forward, no – nonsense kind of girl. She doesn’t completely understand human emotions and that is clearly portrayed in her blunt nature – which she shows despite being present in another person’s body. I was actually surprised that I liked this, even though it makes her unrelatable. But, I think Mercy was a good comparison against Ryan, the human boy character who is consumed with emotions by his missing sister.

I didn’t really believe in the romance that sort-of came about in this book. This hindered my opinion of the book a little. I also couldn’t connect with the characters to an emotional level, which is also important in a book for me. Though one big problem I had was the lack of description!

The writing style in Mercy is short and to the point. Some people may love this, but, I am a description lover. I love flowing sentences and paragraphs filled with imagery. This is a very personal thing, but I am not a fan of short and snappy stories.

Despite my dislike at this, the ending was left at such a cliff hanger with so many unanswered questions and so many possibilities that I have to continue with the series! Overall, Mercy was an enjoyable read that I had a few, personal disagreements with.

myrating

asoftbreeze

Nicole William’s Crash makes me see red.

CrashCrash (Crash #1) by Nicole Williams

Genre: YA, romance, 

Published: December 2012, by Harper Collins

Format: Paperback

Rating: Could hardly feel it. 2 birdies. 

Jude Ryder and Lucy Larson are this generation’s Romeo and Juliet: Explosive. Sizzling. Tragic.

A steamy summer encounter with bad boy Jude means trouble for Lucy. Her sights are set on becoming a ballerina, and she won’t let anything get in her way . . . except Jude.

He’s got a rap sheet, dangerous mood swings, and a name that’s been sighed, shouted, and cursed by who knows how many girls.

Jude’s a cancer, the kind of guy who’s fated to ruin the lives of girls like Lucy—and he tells her so.

But as rumors run rampant and reputations are destroyed, Lucy’s not listening to Jude’s warning. Is tragedy waiting in the wings?

My honest opinion is that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were flat and I couldn’t connect with anything this story presented

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This book? I don’t know where to start.  I should probably admit that it was addicting and intense, I stayed up late to read it, and I was still keyed up when it finished. But, my honest opinion is that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were flat and I couldn’t connect with anything this story presented.

Crash tells the story of Lucy and Jude, as they fall in love, have ups and downs and release their demons. Sadly, I had an issue with the characters in Crash. They were hardly characters. I couldn’t connect to them, nor understand them. A big part that played in this, believe it or not, is the dialogue. It’s like these character are hiding behind this exaggerated teen speak the author uses. Fine; a witty, slightly sexy or sarcastic comment is great now and again. But constantly? Well, that’s all the character’s became, for me. Faces with witty words.

Despite this, I had difficulty putting Crash down. Even though I thought it was ridiculous, the suspense of “will they be together? How far will it go? What’s he done this time?” kept me reading. I really just wanted to see if they would end up together and how.

The plot was all sorts of ridiculous. Firstly, it is literally JUST about Lucy and Jude. There wasn’t any side plot (or rather, the romance wasn’t a side to some bigger plot). The romance was everything, and I decided I’m just not that big of a fan. It’s okay in some circumstances; though it would have to be done extremely well for me to like it. Reason being; the lack of plot or something else pushing the story, makes it flat and puts the pacing out.

The climax was just so utterly unbelievable. I won’t give away too much. But basically,

SPOILER ALERT (Highlight paragraph to view spoiler) I cannot fathom a teen boy not just being a rapist, but a serial rapist that takes lengthy, long measures (say, a year) to plan his attack. I just don’t believe it. I also don’t believe it not being reported, or figured out. The whole incident was swept under the carpet like it was no big deal. I see red, thinking of this.

Another thing I didn’t like, was the conveniences. Lucy has all these thoughts about her and Jude’s situation, and one day, Jude just pops up and says everything she was thinking. Exactly. Not cool.

Even though everything was tense, I didn’t like all the pointless arguments and crazy, protective, constantly changing behavior from Jude and Lucy’s clean plate. It’s why I won’t be continuing this series – I feel like it’s just going to be the same stuff all over again.

Sadly, I didn’t like Crash. If you like all encompassing, drama filled love stories, maybe this is for you. But I need more than just romance in my story. And I tire easily from drama.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Feral by Holly Schindler! Interview + Book trailer!

Today I’m taking part in the book tour for one of my most anticipated books this year, FERAL by Holly Schindler – author of A Blue So Dark and Playing Hurt!

FERAL TOUR BANNER

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

19346468It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew. But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley…. Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page. 

 

Releases August 26th – PRE ORDER FERAL HERE 

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As part of my stop on the Feral tour, I got to ask a interview question. That’s right. A question. As in one. As in – make this as interesting as possible, please! 

So, I asked what I look for most in books: Meaning. 

I love it when books have a message / meaning that authors want their readers to grasp. So I was wondering if FERAL has a particular message you’re trying to get across? If not, what meaning do you think readers may identify in FERAL?

HOLLY SCHINDLER

FERAL does have a message—and the message is directly linked to its genre.

FERAL went through more reinventions than I can count. The novel started out as a middle-grade mystery, believe it or not. In that version, a middle-schooler set out to finally solve a cold case surrounding a young girl’s murder. As I revised the book, though, it became clear that the book needed to be a YA rather than MG.

Usually, when you bump a book up into another age group, you wind up keeping your main character and bumping him or her up in age as well. But the character I’d invented didn’t truly fit with the YA version of the book (which was becoming increasingly darker and edgier). I had to invent a YA protagonist to fit with the YA novel.

Enter Claire Cain—who, I discovered, had a very dark backstory: she’d survived a brutal gang beating in her Chicago hometown. Once I had Claire’s backstory, I knew that the novel wasn’t a straight mystery or even horror (a genre I also played with). I knew the book needed to be a YA psychological thriller, emphasis on the “psychological.”

FERAL contains many aspects of the classic psychological thriller. The book features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development. (A few readers have also identified the feral cats as a Hitchcockian quality, seeing it as a nod to THE BIRDS.) Once Claire arrives in Peculiar, she finds herself struggling to untangle what is real from what is unreal, a frequent topic or theme in psychological thrillers. Are the spirits of the town dead real? What about the urban legend of the former Peculiar High student haunting the basement? Was Serena Sims’s death truly an accident? Psychological thrillers also use the water metaphor to represent the subconscious; here, it shows up in the form of a brutal ice storm, and represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state, her lack of ability to move on from a violent act, though she desperately wants to.

Like psychological thrillers, FERAL contains elements of other genres: mystery, action, horror. But all of those elements are brought in as a way to illustrate where Claire is mentally. In the end, then, it took massive amounts of rewriting to discover the true message, the true purpose of the novel: FERAL is a book about the process of recovering from violence. It seems to me that we often focus on the fact that recovering from violence is a hard process, a lengthy process. We don’t as frequently focus on the fact that it’s also a terrifying process to look at a violent event head-on. The psychological thriller—and the horror and paranormal story elements—allowed me to depict just how terrifying it can be.

Sometimes, too, it’s easy to forget that as we go about our days, we’re only seeing the outside of people. We can’t see inside anyone (which is why a novel is such a unique experience—we’re

looking through someone else’s eyes throughout the duration). Really, though, Claire’s case is an extreme example of the fact that we’re all going through something—and sometimes, the world of the mind can be every bit as real (or more real) than the outside world.

ABOUT THE AUTHORSONY DSC

Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “…a heartwarming and uplifting story…[that] shines…with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller. Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”

Schindler encourages readers to get in touch. Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits. She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and http://hollyschindler.tumblr.com/