Tuesday, 31 July 2018

If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

Publication: September 5th 2017 by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads Description:
A single choice can change everything.

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed? 

My thoughts:
If There's No Tomorrow was a fun super addict read but it was not my favourite Jennifer L Armentrout book by a long shot. I enjoyed my time reading it but it wasn't anything original and it didn't leave a last impression.

I liked the main character Lena. I liked how she like how she loved reading and we actually got to see her reading and prioritise her reading. It was also cool how she played volleyball. While I didn't agree with all her actions I did think they were believable and I think Jennifer L Armentrout did a good job portraying what a person would feel like after what happened in the book.

Like all of Jennifer L Armentrout's books, If There's No Tomorrow was so much fun. There were some great funny lines and there were a good few ACOTAR references that had me laughing. It's clear in this book that Jennifer L Armentrout is a fan of Sarah J Maas.

I loved how the tone of the book completely flipped from lighthearted to very serious after the "choice" that's talked about in the blurb. It was very well written, I felt the whole atmosphere change.

The choice that changed everything was not the most original idea but an important one to discuss. I did feel like it could have been executed better though. I felt like the author added nothing original to the idea. We've seen this story a thousand times and wanted something more from it.

Overall it was a fun quick read but not my favourite, I much prefer Jennifer L Armentrout's paranormal stuff.

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Publication: March 2007 by Scholastic Press

Goodreads Description:
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. 

My thoughts:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a quick easy children's book I really enjoyed. It looks intimidating on the shelf being over 500 pages but it flies by. It is such a unique book that is a cross between a novel and graphic novel with hundreds of illustrations scattered throughout!

The main character, Hugo, is lonely and his situation of feeling lost after losing a loved one makes him easily relatable. Another relatable character was the toy maker's daughter, Isabelle, who was my favourite! I loved bookish personality and curiosity about everything!

I loved the plot! It's a mix of action and adventure with chase scenes one page and slower character moments the next. It was so well paced I couldn't stop reading.

I was blown away by the illustrations. They really added something unique to the story. They took up about half the pages and moved the story along nice and quickly; had they not been included I think it would have been a very slow read I wouldn't have enjoyed as much. They were absolutely stunning and had me itching to grab my pencil to try recreate them. 

The ending was very sweet and I could have been happier with it!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret was an enjoyable read and I'd recommend it if your looking for something light to read that you don't need to concentrate a lot on and can get read in a handful of hours!

Definitely one I will be using in the classroom with my kids in the future!

Thanks for reading,

A :)P

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Publication: June 6th 2017 by Simon & Schuster

Goodreads Description:
After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do? 

My thoughts:
I had the best time read Tash Hearts Tolstoy! I absolute loved it. It was such a quick addictive fun read!

I loved Tash, she was so well developed and rounded not like other YA contemporary characters who are generic self insert type characters. On top of being obsessed with Tolstoy and making videos she's a vegetarian, Buddhist and identifies as asexual. I loved how there was so many aspects to her!

I also loved how big a role friendship had in this book. Tash's relationships with her best friend Jack and Jack's brother Paul where the 2 main ones. Jack and Tash's friendship was excellently crafted. Their personalities were so different from each other and it made their relationship so complex but it worked. I loved how they argued with each other but always came back together. I also loved Tash's friendship with Paul. He was such a sweet character and they had such a supportive friendship!

Tash being ace is not the main part of the story which I liked but does have a role. I thought it was done sensitively and in a way that educates readers who aren't familiar with the under represented sexuality. I can't speak on it's authenticity but I've heard/read ownvoices reviews from JennaClareK on YouTube on the asexuality rep and she thinks the author did a a great job on it.

I wasn't a huge fan of Thom, I didn't buy into his and Tash's online flirting. I didn't see that much chemistry between them and I was very disappointed with Thom's character arc. Some of his actions later in the book felt very forced and out of character and he ended up feeling like a plot device in my opinion. I think what he did was definitely an important thing to have in the book but was executed badly.

This is a YA Contemporary so of course the plot was very predictable. Not really a critique but something to keep in mind. 

My only big issue with Tash Heart's Tolstoy was the side plots with Tash's family and Jack and Paul's family weren't developed enough to impact the story and could have been left out. They didn't add anything substantial to the story.

As someone who watches YouTube and web series it was so cool reading about someone behind the videos. All aspects of the process were mentioned such as scheduling, scripting, filming, editing and even the amount of time it takes to reply to emails and interact with fans on social media!

The ending was satisfying but I wouldn't say no to following these characters around more. I had a lot of fun reading about Tash and her friends and would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a quick read!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

*Warning this post contains spoilers for first book in the series, Every Heart A Doorway*

Series: Wayward Children, #3

Publication: January 9th 2018 by tor.com

Goodreads Description:
Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. 

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic. 

My thoughts:
Loved it! This one was published as the third book but it's more of a second book because it actually takes place soon after the events of Every Heart A Doorway. 

Beneath the Sugar Sky has a much more whimsical tone compared to the other two book which have a darker more eerie feeling to them and that made this one my least favourite of the trilogy.

While I liked Rini I found myself distances from her. I didn't relate or connect to her much. I liked how determined she was though to do what she wanted. Rini is fat and while I can't speak on the fat representation I've read ownvoices reviews and most say it was dealt with in a sensitive manner and isn't anything harmful or malicious but was a bit heavy handed as most of Rimi's page time is spent remind readers she is fat and that's all there really was to her character. I agree with this, I felt like her weight was brought up way more than necessary. 

There was some great cameos of characters from Every Heart A Doorway which I loved. It was so much fun getting to hang with some old favourites.

This book has a very quest like plot compared to the previous books which I loved! The characters were travelling between worlds and it was so much fun exploring the all the different places! We got to go to lots of new places and places we have heard of in previous books!

I loved all the new world building this book brought to the series. It was so interesting learning how the different magic systems work and how all the worlds connect together and such.

I say it every time I read a Seanan McGuire book but the writing is just so pretty! 

I had a lot of fun reading Beneath the Sugar Sky, not my favourite in the series but a wonderful instalment nonetheless! 

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Series: Time Quintet, #1

Publication: November 7th 2017 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1962)

Goodreads Description:
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space? 

My thoughts:
A Wrinkle in Time is a quick weird read I think kids would love but as a 21 year old it missed the mark with me. It probably didn't help that I read it at a weird time but I ended up thinking it was an okay read but not very memorable. 

Meg was a pretty cookie cutter main character. She feels like no one understands her and she goes on and on about it. I felt like there was nothing special about her and I couldn't relate to her so I ended up not really caring about her.

I also wasn't overly invested in the plot. I usually love middle grade adventure stories but this one just didn't grab my attention but as I said I read this at a bit of a weird time in my life when I couldn't properly focus my attention on reading. It also felt a bit sloppy and all over the place and this made it hard to follow what was going on. There were some parts that just felt random and out of place.

This book has some weird stuff going on and I had to suspend my disbelief because some of the events were very out there. I think a kid reading wouldn't have this problem while reading but as a 21 year old it was a bit too bizarre for me.

I think I would have liked A Wrinkle in Time a lot more if I'd read it at a different time, but as it was it was just an alright read for me. I won't be reading the next book in the series.

Thanks for reading,

A :)