Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid


Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: July 29th 2014
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, road trip, romance, friendship
Source: Edelweiss

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.


Summary by Goodreads






LET'S GET LOST is made up of five parts, each of them divided into about seven or eight chapters. In his debut novel Adi Alsaid tells the stories of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia. They are stories about friendship, family, and love. Running away from the past, being scared of the future and how to make up for your mistakes. What connects their stories and makes up the fifth part of the book is the story of a wonderfully warm and caring girl named Leila. She helps Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia on her way and makes friends for a lifetime. I almost couldn't believe she wanted to drive all the way to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. Such a crazily exciting trip!

Adi Alsaid wrote one delightfully different road trip. Leila's adventure isn't about sightseeing only, but more about the people she meets along the way. Just like Leila I've been wanting to see the Northern Lights. I spent three weeks in the North of Sweden, but never got the chance to actually see them. So this book gives me a good excuse to fly to Alaska and lie down in a clearing just like Leila did. Leila really impressed me! 

All five stories stand for themselves, and at the same time are connected by Leila's generosity, her kindness, bravery and friendship. And they all had something to do with being lost and wanting to be found, wanting to find your own way in life. There were various parallels between every story that connected them in a meaningful way. Leila helps those teens get through the night and when the new day dawns they might actually find what they've been looking for for all this time.
 
With a few nuances the story could've moved to a deeper emotional level, even more than it ultimately did. Most of the story is about the teens Leila makes friends with and their lives and only a small part of the story is about Leila herself and what this road trip means to her. 
Also, she kisses Hudson, the first boy she meets on her trip and I would not be surprised if you hoped for them to see each other again just like I did for the entire book. Theirs is a subtle and great love story!

Adi Alsaid has a talent to zoom in on great moments and capture them, make them appear in detail and vibrance. Some parts of this story read like the script to an epic YA contemp movie version of LET'S GET LOST. Really hoping to see this one on the big screen some day!






5/5 ***** LET'S GET LOST - A brilliant debut novel with an epic road trip, postcards, new friends and all the things that make life so unexpectedly beautiful.

I have never marked so many sentences as favourite quotes on my kindle before! You really want to get lost in Leila's story. The beautiful writing of Adi Alsaid makes her story come alive and feel as meaningful and beautiful as a favourite YA contemporary novel should in order to stay with you and your friends for a long time. LET'S GET LOST is a favourite of mine, too.







"How unfair that the person breaking your heart could still be resoundingly beautiful, that her face was still the one you loved the most." Source







LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid you might also enjoy AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson, SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington and HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. I really liked all three of these road trip adventures and the many emotions they conveyed. 


 




* You can find more LET'S GET LOST quotes here.

* Click here to read an excerpt of LET'S GET LOST.

* Want to meet Adi? Check out his event schedule.

* You can now add Adi's next book ALWAYS, NEVER, SOMETIMES (2015) to your Goodreads shelves.

* For more information about Adi and his books visit www.somewhereoverthesun.com.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mini Reviews #26

Looking for some thrilling YA reads this summer and fall? Then these are your books! THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings, BLACKBIRD by Anna Carey and UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris.


The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

This debut transports its readers to a futuristic world where life means nothing and killing is everything. It's time for Meadow Woodson, who has been trained to fight and survive anything, to find her place in this cruel and dangerous society. Zephyr James is already part of that system, an assassin. Their roles in the system could uncover truths and secrets that could ultimately hurt both of them and destroy their new-found bond. 
THE MURDER COMPLEX is made up of short chapters told from Zephyr and Meadow's perspectives which I liked both. The actual story could be confusing at times though. When one string of action had just begun and got promptly interrupted by another, I tended to fail to stay on top of things. The system our characters are caught in is dangerous. When starting this read you have to expect violence to be a big part of this very extreme and unpolished world Lindsay Cummings invented. And it's no surprise society is slowly and inevitably crumbling under the weight of violene, death and betrayal. In the end this twisted game of killing and being killed was even too wicked for me.


3/5 *** THE MURDER COMPLEX -  One bloody great debut some would say! Rough characters, dark story line with unpolished writing in some places.

THE MURDER COMPLEX is Lindsay Cummings' debut novel. She's come a long way to become a published YA author. And she came up with a very powerful story idea, centred around a reckless society reigned by one of the most dangerous threats to humanity, murder. Promising story concept, lacking in realization. This book is for readers who are looking for extreme and challenging reads.
 

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publishing Date: June 10th 2014
Length: 398 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, dystopia, killing society, romance
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage



Blackbird by Anna Carey

"A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her." 
Sometimes it felt like Anna Carey kind of threw her readers on the train tracks, too, and asked them to work out how to like BLACKBIRD with so few information about our heroine and everything about her life. BLACKBIRD starts as a complete mystery that needs to be solved step by step. First it was difficult for me to get into the mood for this kind of story. But then suddenly one third into the story, I was so invested I just needed to read all of it as soon as possible. Especially the love story and creepy flashbacks worked perfectly for me to make Anna Carey's newest book an equally dark and desirable fall read 2014.


4/5 **** BLACKBIRD - Anna Carey's newest book is a fall '14 highlight and should be an auto-buy for YA thriller readers!

BLACKBIRD is a definite must-read for fans of the MARA DYER series, too. It might not be as extreme and terrifying but sure sets a dark and dangerous atmosphere for one girl's fight to find out her true identity. The hunt for clues, the never-ending run from her pursuers and secret girl's relentless willpower are what make Anna Carey's new book so exciting and memorable.


Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: September 16th 2014
Length: 256 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, mystery, romance
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage



Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Janelle and Ben have the most uncommon start for a love at first sight. The story of UNRAVELING begins when a boy saves a girl's life and literally brings her back from the dead after she's been hit by a car and her heart stopped beating. How he did that and how Janelle and Ben are going to save the world together will be explored in Elizabeth Norris' fast-paced YA thriller debut.
UNRAVELING is a sci-fi thriller with many mysterious occurrences. It's also set over the course of 24 days. I was unable to put it down! 
It's when Janelle discovers a clock that counts down to the destruction of the earth, that our countdown of 24 days starts. In the beginning of every chapter there's a note on how much time is left, increasing the urgency and the enormity of what's at risk. Her familiar situation isn't that simple either and her brother, father and mother are definitly no happy family. I really loved that part of the story and its sincerity and realness. Just as real was the romance between Janelle and Ben. It was destined to be, impulsive and hot. And the end of UNRAVLING totally broke my heart! Very much need to get to its sequel, UNBREAKABLE soon.


5/5 ***** UNRAVELING - A badass teen agent caught between an unforgettable love story, a murder investigation and parallel worlds.

UNRAVELING is one of my favourite YA thrillers and I absolutely loved that Janelle was so passionate and professional about everything she did. She's a great investigator (probably thanks to her father being an FBI agent), always says what's on her mind and is fighting for justice whenever she can. The whole story reminded me a bit of a more mysterious and scientific Veronica Mars. If you decide to pick up a copy of this first book in a duology, you should get ready to solve a few gruesome crime cases and enjoy the romance between Ben and Janelle which is just as sweet.


Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: April 24th 2012
Length: 464 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, mystery, romance, FBI, parallel worlds
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Vacation, Beach Reads & Puppies

It feels pretty good to be blogging again after the extended break I had to take for two reasons. First, there was the three-week vacation in Denmark. And the second reason is named Kira. Our Golden retriever Amy is 1 1/2 years old now and since she hasn't lost her anxiety about loud noises and new places, we decided it best to get a second dog who might be able to stabilize her in situations of great distress. Kira is a Bernaise Mountain dog and 13 weeks old. We got her just before we left for Denmark and so far it has been a stressfull, but awesome time with her. After two days of obsessive stalking the little pup, Amy grew to like her so much and has been showing signs of feeling more secure in certain situations. I believe Amy & Kira are already best buddies for life. They enjoyed the vacation and absolutely loved the beach. Here are a few pictures.








The Denmark vacation was much needed and finally I had time to read a few books that I've been dying to read in the past months. I feel like my blogging spirits have been re-energized and I can finally catch up on a few reviews. I managed to read 10 books in total (started the first at home and finished the last at home,too). Here's what I read in Denmark



Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg **** 4 stars
Veronica Mars - The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham **** 4 stars
Hooked by Liz Fichera *** 3 stars
The One by Kiera Cass **** 4 stars
Unsticky by Sarra Manning **** 4 stars

TAKE A BOW by Elizabeth Eulberg was a very cute read and the perfect book to kick off my reading vacation. I've been wanting to read VERONICA MARS - THE THOUSAND DOLLAR TAN LINE by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham since I've watched the movie and while it wasn't as fulfulling as the Tv show or the movie, it was definitely great to read about what happens in Neptune after the movie ends. HOOKED by Liz Fichera was an okay read. I saw a lot of people tweeting that they practically hated THE ONE by Kiera Cass so I was quite surprised that I actually liked it. I took me almost a week to read UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning and even though I had a slow start and difficulties to get into the story, I really grew to like Grace in the end.




Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison *** 3 stars
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black ***/* 3,5 stars
It Had to Be You by Jo Carnegie ****/* 4,5 stars
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland ***** 5 stars
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick **** 4 stars

LOBSTERS by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison an okay read for me, funny but sometimes too juvenile. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black working together on a book is a dream come true for many readers. THE IRON TRIAL was a good Middle Grade read with a comforting sort of magic to it. IT HAD TO BE YOU by Jo Carnegie was the perfect read to satisfy my chick lit needs. When I read NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland, it finally felt like I'd found my beach read of the year. Ordered a copy of its sequel NANTUCKET RED after chapter two or three. Coming out in October, BLACK ICE by Becca Fitzpatrick is a dark and dangerous thriller that was awesome in a whole different way than the beach reads before.


After years of avoiding novellas I finally finished my first! And all because of...Warner! I never thought I'd fall in love with him because I was totally shipping Juliette and Adam in SHATTER ME. My loyalties began to shift in UNRAVEL ME and by possibly the end of chapter one in IGNITE ME, my heart belonged to Warner and that hasn't changed since. DESTROY ME is written from Warner's point of view. Now I'd kill for IGNITE ME written from his perspective! Even though I'm pretty sure I won't become a novella girl, I'm very happy I read this one. **** 4 stars go to DESTROY ME!


Q! So that's what I read so far this summer. Tell me about your vacation or the books you read. Which is your favourite summer read so far?

Mini Reviews #25

After an extended blogging break I'm finally back with a new mini reviews post. 17 FIRST KISSES by Rachael Allen, THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE by Leslie Connor and THROUGH TO YOU by Lauren Barnholdt  are June and July 2014 releases and all make for great summer reads.


17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Claire and Megan are best friends and they are completely boy-crazy. When a new boy moves to town Claire is determined he could finally be her one true love but she has to risk her friendship with Megan in order to test her theory.
Claire and Megan's friendship was always presented like it couldn't coexist with their dating life. Her list of kisses, which Claire often talks about like trophies or inanities, is long. And so I couldn't help thinking that her emotional world felt very limited. Or maybe I just  couldn't see any sense in the fight she has with her supposedly best friend Megan over the new boy Luke. 
Luke and Claire's love story could've been something to enjoy if he really were the one boy who she truly cared about. But with all the fighting going on between the two girls, their romance gets petty and complicated fast and wasn't that romantic and dreamy in the end.


3/5 *** 17 FIRST KISSES - A mostly kissable YA contemporary debut 2014. But better be prepared for all the boy drama!

One potentially great love story for Claire is not nearly enough to make up for all the juvenile fighting between Claire and Megan we have to endure. But Rachael Allen also tells a bunch of funny, awkward and cute stories of first kisses that make her debut novel a YA contemporary you might want to check out.


Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: June 17th 2014
Length: 319 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage



The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Bettina lives a very controlled life somewhat removed from friends, dating or fun activities other people her age would take for granted. She lives on a farm with her parents and two little brothers and has to abide by the strict rules her Greek father enforces on her. I often felt sorry for her since her father seemed to observe her every move and keep her outings to a very limited number. And where the family story didn't really work for me, Bettina's love life was looking kind of complicated, too. It wasn't always easy to feel a connection to Bettina. 
She also lives in an abusive relationship until she meets someone new. A different boy, an older boy. Two love stories and not one of them really convinced me. Then there's a great tragedy, too, which changes everything. You see, Bettina's story is anything but easy. Hopefully, many readers will appreciate the time Leslie Connor gave her protagonist in order to come out of all the unfortunate things she had to deal with, changed and a better and stronger person.


3/5 *** THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE - A very special love story with Greek temper and a tragedy that changes everything! 

Bettina's story was pretty decent. She was a character I liked one chapter, then had a few issues with in the next. So in general, I feel very ambivalent about this story when I look at the balance of its bright and very dark moments. One thing I have to give Leslie Connor, she definitely surprised me at one point in the story, so much so that the story got a different quality to it. Totally unexpected!


Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: June 24th 2014
Length: 368 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, family, friendship, abuse, Greek culture
Source: Publisher
Author's Homepage



Through To You by Lauren Barnholdt

Harper and Penn's story is one that tells how opposites attract each other. Lauren Barnholdt's newest book is told from his and her perspective. Chapters read fast and easily, which I liked just fine.
When I hear about a new novel by Lauren Barnholdt I'm always excited about the story and can't wait to read it, but in the end it's just not enough. With its cute premise THROUGH TO YOU sounded like the kind of story fans of Simone Elkeles or Katie McGarry could be interested in. But as always with Lauren's books, the characters didn't feel as forthcoming, well-rounded or with enough emotional depth as they could've been. But don't get me wrong, Harper and Penn's love story is cute and I guess theirs is the one that I liked best out of Lauren's stories.


3/5 *** THROUGH TO YOU - Penn and Harper are Lauren Barnholdt's cutest couple so far!

I  like that Lauren Barnholdt's books always make for a fast and light read with a little morale lesson or emotional or personal conflict solved. I will keep reading her books even though I fear I won't ever be completely satisfied by them. Maybe if I just accept that, I can hopefully enjoy them more in the future.


Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: July 8th 2014
Length: 256 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, high school
Source: Edelweiss
Author's Homepage

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blog Tour: My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal - Behind The Pages #6


My Behind The Pages post for the month of June is a special one because it is part of the MY LAST KISS blog tour by Bethany Neal. Today Bethany Neal shares two annotated pages from her debut novel with us and tells us about her inspiration for Cassidy's shimmery skin. Thanks to Bethany Neal for asking me to be a part of her MY LAST KISS blog tour and for all the work she put into this guest post! Hope you enjoy it and pick up a copy of MY LAST KISS!

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What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.


Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The things she is obsessed with include, but are not limited to: nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.

MY LAST KISS is her first novel. Connect with her online at www.bethanyneal.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BethDazzled.

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Tour Schedule


May 26 The Fantastic Flying Book Club, Welcome post

Day 1- May 27 Word Spelunking, Top 10 Kisses (t/o pop culture) numbers 6-10
Reading Teen, Top 10 Kisses (t/o pop culture) numbers 1-5

Day 2- May 28 YA Love, Writing Advice

Day 3- May 29 YAdult Review, Top 6 Bad Boys (who aren't so bad)

Day 4- May 30 Book Loving Me, Story Inspiration

 Day 5- May 31 Broke & Bookish, Top 7 Ghost Stories

Day 6- June 1 Tales of a Ravenous Reader, Pinterest Inspiration Board
YA Reads, Easter Egg Hunt

Day 7- June 2 Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks, Musical Inspiration
Miss-Page Turner's City of Books, Behind The Pages

Day 8- June 3 Supernatural Snark, Character Interview, Ethan
GUEST POST First Kiss Stories, Amy Plum’s Blog

Day 9- June 4 The Hiding Spot, Q&A
Reader Girls, Ghostly "Rules"

Day 10- June 5 Book Addicts Guide, Open Interview
Anna Reads, My First Fictional Crush

Day 11- June 6 Lady Reader's BookStuff, Playlist Reveal

Day 12- June 7 Books As You Know It, Q&A
Book Rat, Character Interview, Cassidy

Day 13- June 8 Proud Book Nerd, Characters Theme Songs
Girls in the Stacks, Podcast

Day 14- June 9 Literary Rambles, Interview/Review & signed book giveaway
YA Sisterhood, Top 10 Fictional Crushes

Day 15- June 10 The Best Books Ever, Origin Story

Day 16 June 11 Fantastic Flying Book Club, Swag Giveaway & Review


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My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal


Bethany Neal: Even though my main character is a ghost(ish), I still believe My Last Kiss is more of a contemporary story than a paranormal one. The struggles Cassidy and her friends face with friendships and loyalty, personal judgment, and self-medicating through alcohol and drugs are very much rooted in reality. However, the story element that I had the most fun with while writing was Cassidy’s ghostly appearance.



The two annotated pages are from MY LAST KISS, FSG Books for Young Readers, 2014.


 _____________________________________________________

The Inspiration 

 The inspiration for her pearlescent shimmery skin came from three very unrelated sources.


Inspiration #1: Edward Cullen. Isn’t he so pretty? But too pretty for a teenage ghost with amnesia. I explain below. 

My first instinct when I started exploring options for how my version of a “ghost” would look was—as with everything else good in life—it should sparkle. This inevitably led to Edward Cullen because, let’s be honest, what doesn’t lead to him in the end? But I didn’t want Cassidy’s ghostly transformation to be as overtly beautiful as aforementioned sparkly vampire. I wanted her appearance to be illusive and intangible to relate back to her circumstance. She’s lost her memory; she literally can’t get a grip on her life or what happened to her. That’s where bubbles came to mind.


Inspiration #2: Soap Bubbles

There’s a sense of nostalgia when you think of blowing bubbles or chasing them as a child. It’s such a carefree association, but you can never truly enjoy a bubble for yourself. It’s beautiful and light and it makes you smile up until it inevitably pops the second you take hold of it. Bubbles are actually quite bittersweet if you think about it. Bubbles are also iridescent, which led me to my third inspiration.

  
Inspiration #3: The Inside of an Oyster Shell 

At one point in the book Ethan describes Cassidy’s skin as looking like “see through pearls,” and that’s ultimately the image I clung to for her otherworldly complexion. Though I did retain the sparkles for when she dissolves into “dust” when passing through people. The dust just had to sparkle!




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Signing Info


MY LAST KISS Launch Party!!!
When Tuesday, June 10, 2014 7pm
Where Nicola’s Books
2513 Jackson Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Details Join Bethany in publication day festivities! There will be cake, swag giveaways, and the signing of many books.


Michigan Author Event  
When Saturday, June 14, 2014 2-4pm
Where Barnes & Noble
3311 Tittabawassee Rd.
Saginaw, MI 48604
Details Visit Bethany and fellow YAer Aimee Carter in the Teen section during this store wide event featuring Michigan authors from varying genres.


Up North 2-Day Event: Signing/Writing Workshop

SIGNING
When Friday, June 20, 2014 2-4pm
Where McLean & Eakin Bookstore
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770

WORKSHOP
When Saturday, June 21, 2014 10am-12pm
Where McLean & Eakin Bookstore
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770
Details Call McLean & Eakin for more information (231) 347-1180.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning


Title: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
Author: Sarra Manning
Publisher: Corgi
Publishing Date: February 3rd 2011
Length: 555 pages
Keywords: Adult, romance, sex, friendship, weight loss
Source: Bought

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to whom?


Summary by Goodreads






YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME is my favourite Sarra Manning book so far out of all her YA and adult books. Even if Sarra's books don't sound like a perfect match for you, she makes them fit. I learned to give every book of hers a chance because in the end I could hardly say I disliked one word of her writing.

Neve is like this very real girl who could live in the flat above you or the nice girl who helps you pick up the stuff you accidentally dropped in the grocery store. She was so relatable it was no surprise I felt a strong kinship for her. She was unlike any other fictional chick lit girl I had met so far and I wanted her to be real so badly and be friends with her. Perhaps reading her story felt so emotional and real because she is dealing with a major issue so many women deal with today, losing weight and honestly evaluating your body image.

Max was the perfect male counterpart for Neve! Everyone keeps describing him a man slut. But we are granted the pleasure to know him a totally different way from the moment we meet him. He might be a tease, but he's honest and gentle and cuddly, and such a sexy sexpert. Neve wants to have Max in her life because he is so much more experienced than she is and she hopes he can kind of train her for her one true love, William. I can't imagine anyone being Team William after meeting Max first. William sends letters Neve's way, but any scene with Neve thinking about him or talking to him kind of lost me for the time it lasted. No wonder, because they didn't have Max in them, too. You can see he's my absolute favourite out of all the chick lit book boys.

The sex scenes that were a major part of Neve and Max's relationship long before feelings came into play, were some of the best I've read so far. I love how Sarra Manning took Neve on this adventurous experience of first real love and showed her how being loved, physically and emotionally could feel like, if you just found the right person. Every time Max and Neve got together my heart kept growing. Grab a copy of YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME and see for yourself how amazing their chemistry and love story is. 






5/5 ***** YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME – Yes, I do. Very much!

YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME was my highlight in the end of 2013. Who would've thought I'd rush through this 555 page book in no time and fall in love with the characters so much that I still think about them when I finished the story months ago. When I muse what Neve and Max would be up to right now a cheeky smirk of the Max kind steals over my face. 







"'Not really much point in going to bed, is there?' Max shifted in his seat so his arm and leg were pressed against Neve's. 'I'm sure we could find something else to do to pass the time.' He said it lightly and with that cheeky little smirk so Neve decided not to take offence. She smiled instead, secure in the knowledge that there was every point in going to bed, alone, to sleep for a solid five hours." p.29







YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME you might enjoy UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning, THE LONGEST HOLIDAY by Paige Toon and HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane. Three chick lit stories that are whatever you need them to be. Smart, sexy & sweet.








* Have you read IT FELT LIKE A KISS yet?

* Click here to read an excerpt of YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME.

* For more information about Sarra and her books visit www.sarramanning.co.uk.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern


Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: June 3rd 2014
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, friendship, love, cerebral palsy, OCD
Source: Publisher

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Summary by Goodreads






Amy and Matthew both have their issues to deal with. Amy was born with cerebral palsy and Matthew's days are defined by his obsessive-compulsive disorder. They both tell you about their school and home lives, and their blossoming relationship from their own perspectives. These alternating chapters were definitely important to the story because what shapes their relationship and determines their actions and feelings is made up of very complex processes. You learn what it means to have OCD or cerebral palsy, the varying levels of them, how they can develop and ways of therapy.

Matthew comes into Amy's life in form of a student aide. I wasn't even familiar with that concept before I read SAY WHAT YOU WILL. I learned a lot reading Amy and Matthew's story and it sure helped me to think myself in the position of students who are affected by anything like our two main characters.

SAY WHAT YOU WILL kicked off with a very strong first half in which I was absolutely invested in Amy and Matthew's stories. Then something happened that threw me and the characters completely off course and after that I didn't really get into the original mood of the story again. I can't say anything about the events that led to a turn in the story and practically put a buffer on all my cheering for Amy and Matthew's love story. Not sure how other readers dealt with the last part of the book, but I'm sure not everyone sees what's happening as critical to the story as I do.

Cammie McGovern's first YA novel is set in high school. It's Amy and Matthew's senior year. And SAY WHAT YOU WILL is about all the usual stuff that is high school, but it's also about the things that are different for our two characters and why. There are even chapters on Amy and Matthew's lives after high school. In general I really like when the end of high school isn't the end of the story.

Amy and Matthew. Friendship and love. Their lives are made up of clear boundaries. Things people think they can't do or even things their illness keeps them from doing. And now when it comes to two of the most important emotional investments in life, the boundaries that have been ever-present in their lives before are blurring. Considering Cammie's writing technique and her easing the reader slowly, first into Amy and Matthew's friendship, and then into their possible love scenario, SAY WHAT YOU WILL is an amazing read.






3/5 *** SAY WHAT YOU WILL - Messy, enabling and very beautiful in parts!

This could be one of the most real and inspiring stories you are ever going to read. Amy and Matthew's love story is unpredictable in many ways, some you'll like, others may be somewhat infuriating. One thing is clear though, this story is one very challenged love story in many aspects. It will draw out your emotions and may as well steal your heart.







"Everything changed for Amy after that conversation with Matthew.
For most of her school life, Amy had felt a little like Rapunzel, locked in the tower her walker created when she walked down hallways. In eleven years, no one had ever called up to her window or asked for her hair. No one had ever tried to be her friend.
Impossible, you might say. Everyone has some friends.
No, Amy would have to say. Not everyone." p. 21







SAY WHAT YOU WILL you might enjoy WONDER by R.J. Palacio. You'll love this Middle Grade story about brave Auggie who was born with a facial deformity. FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB by Antony John tells the story of deaf Piper who has to manage a rock band. And GIRL, STOLEN by April Henry is about the kidnapping of the blind Cheyenne. These books have protagonists who are challenged in some way, and I'm sure you'll enjoy all of them.








* How do you like the UK cover for Amy & Matthew's story?

* Want to meet Cammie McGovern? Check out her event schedule.

* For more information about Cammie and her books visit www.cammiemcgovern.com.

* Thanks to Harper Collins International for the ARC of SAY WHAT YOU WILL!