BLOG TOUR REVIEW | The Words That Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll

Name: The Words That Fly Between Us
Author: Sarah Carroll
Genres: MG, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Uncorrected Proof
Source: Hashtag Reads
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Lucy’s father is a successful lawyer making a killing on the property market. She and her mother want for nothing. Nothing, that is, that can be bought.

But money cannot buy Lucy the words she needs. The words to stand up to her bully of a father. The words to inspire her mother to do something about the family life that is suffocating them both. The words to become the person she wants to be.

Then Lucy finds something else: An escape route…

Soon she discovers that every building on her row is connected, through the attic, to the next. As she explores the inner lives of those who live on her street, Lucy realises that she is not the only one to suffer in silence. She also sees ways she can help some, and ways to punish those that deserve it.

But as the mighty fall, Lucy is forced to realise that while she can affect the lives of others from the safety of the attic, she will need to climb down to face her own fears.

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ARC REVIEW | The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

Name: The Weight of the Stars
Author: K. Ancrum
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Imprint, Macmillan
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Rating: ★★★★★
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Ryann Bird dreams of travelling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends. 

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system. 

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . . 

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REVIEW | A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven

This is a review of a sequel, so there will be spoilers for the first book, The Exact Opposite of Okay, in the below review. To find my review of the first book, please click here. Otherwise, this review will be spoiler-free.

Name: A Girl Called Shameless (The Exact Opposite of Okay #2)
Author: Laura Steven
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Electric Monkey, Egmont
Format: UK Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★★★
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Izzy O’Neill: Writer, Activist, World’s Worst Waitress.

It’s been two months since eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill was slut-shamed in a national scandal. As well as coming to terms with the fact that thousands of people have seen her foofer – Izzy is juggling high school, writing a screenplay and figuring out what to do next with her life.

When another girl’s nude photos are leaked, Izzy and the Bitches Bite Back team decide to take action. They’re taking the fight all the way to the top … and won’t let anyone bring them down.

It’s time for the shaming to stop.

A book about friendship, feminism and fighting back.

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REVIEW | Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

without-merit-9781501170621_hrName: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: US Paperback
Source: Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★★
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Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

KEY WORDS: Dysfunctional family, Mental health, Love at first sight.

Without Merit is a return to Colleen Hoover’s YA roots, much like that of Hopeless and Slammed. It tells the story of the Voss family, specifically following Merit, an identical twin, and her feelings towards her siblings, parents and step-mother. This dysfunctional family, proclaimed by Merit’s own words as “an atheist, a home wrecker, an ex-wife suffering from agoraphobia, and a teenage girl whose weird obsession borders on necrophilia,” is both the problem and resolution of the story. Everything revolves around family and I really connected with that. Hell, the Voss’ lack of communication to each other what so much like mine, it scared me a little.

However, I felt like the romance was very much a sideline in this book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just so different to what I was used to from CoHo. I find her books cathartic – I read them and spend the day crying from the heartbreak before she slowly stitches my heart back together. Without Merit was completely different in that respect. The focus was more on Merit’s mental health struggles, the dysfunctionality of her family and how they can overcome their difficulties to come together when necessary.

I really loved the way this book made me feel. No, it didn’t have the same cathartic punch that the other novels do, but there was something heartwarming about it which made me feel closer to my own family. I really loved this book, and I hope you do too.

Also, even though romance wasn’t the main plot point in the same way as before, this quote has become everything to me. Please appreciate it’s romantic beauty.

Tuqburni is used to describe the all-encompassing feeling of not being able to live without someone. Which is why the literal translation is, ‘You bury me.’”

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Colleen Hoover is fantastic, here are my four favourites:

  • November 9 ★★★★★
  • It Ends With Us (TW: domestic violence) ★★★★★
  • Slammed ★★★★★
  • Ugly Love ★★★★★

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Have you read Without Merit yet? Do you love CoHo’s stuff as much as me? Let me know in the comments!


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CURRENTLY READING | Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: US Paperback
Source: Book Depository

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

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What are you reading right now? Are you enjoying it? Tell me in the comments!


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HOLIDAY WRAP UP: A Week in Madiera

The perfect holiday read varies for everyone and in the past I have enjoyed intense thrillers, easy-reading romance, high fantasy series and young adult contemporary from the bliss of a sunbed by the sea. As you can see by the novels I ploughed through on my week-long trip to the island of Madeira, the style and genre changed every day.

 

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Villains, short stories, fairytales, retellings.

This anthology of villainous tales was a perfect sunbed read, allowing me to read a tale before taking a break to hit the pool or get a drink from the bar. I really enjoyed the concept behind it and the execution was delightful, leading me to find some new favourite authors as well as falling in love again with the writing styles of my faves (hi there, Say Sha and Schwab).

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

While not being released until March 2018, The Exact Opposite of Okay was exactly what I needed to read in the heat of a summer holiday. It was laugh out loud funny while still tackling important issues of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. Read this book when it comes out in March or maybe even read it on your own sunbed next summer, but it’s worth reading.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Micah Grey series by Laura Lam ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

A few years ago I spent a seven day holiday reading three different fantasy series, Throne of Glass (Sarah J Maas), Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor) and Angelfall (Susan Ee) and that was a lot to handle in terms of world jumping and a lot of books. This time, I conquered just one series and it was everything I wanted. At this time, I would say that all three novels in the Micah Grey series are up there in my favourite books I’ve read this year. Whether you read them on holiday or from the comfort of your own home by the fire, read these books because they made my life infinitesimally better.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Diary entries, emails, space travel, easy reading.

Along with The Exact Opposite of Okay, this novel was probably the best format for sunbed perfection. Easy reading and fast paced leading to a pretty chill day. I, however, did not read this on a sunbed, instead I read it in the four hours from leaving my hotel to half way through my flight home. If filled the time well and I enjoyed the story. Worth a read upon it’s release in September and perfect for younger readers in the YA category.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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REVIEW: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

TEOOOName: The Exact Opposite of Okay
Authors: Laura Steven
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Format: Uncorrected Proof (ARC) Paperback
Source: Electric Monkey Books at YALC
Publication Date: 8th March 2018
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

*I was given this ARC at YALC by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The first think I need to emphasise if how fucking important this book is. You need to read it. I don’t care who you are – your age, gender, sexuality, profession are completely unimportant. If you are alive right now, experiencing the world as we live it today, you must read this book.

We’ve come a long way since Hester Prynne pinned a scarlet letter on her clothes and yet, even today the concept of slut-shaming is still incredibly prevalent in our culture. Women are not allowed to be as sexually active, experimental and carefree in the same way as men due to the constant fear of being hated, reviled and abused by their peers of either gender. It’s 2017 for fuck’s sake, we are not in Victorian times offended by the skin around a woman’s ankles. Calm the hell down.

Izzy O’Neill’s story brings to light the harmful bully circles within high schools, the horrifying words of peers when slut-shaming and also the atrocious ideas and behaviour behind friend-zoning and Nice Guy Privilege. It gets better… all this she does with the best sense of humour and Laura Steven portrays this through raucously hilarious commentary from the protagonist.

The novel is written through blog posts, told first person at the time of the incidents, but then copy and pasted into a novel manuscript with present time comments from ‘Future Izzy’. Honestly, the idea of contemporary YA written in texts or blogs or diaries make me gag a little because it reminds me of being 12 and reading The Princess Diaries and Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging but as a 22 year old university graduate who doesn’t often read contemporary YA, this book was everything to me. Format be damned, it was the perfect way to portray Izzy’s inner turmoil at the time and then ‘Future Izzy’ looking back on what had happened in her good humoured, comedienne nature.

I honestly believe that this book should be on school syllabuses. We talk so much about how we need to educate people on issues like this involving revenge porn, slut shaming and the unfair treatment of sexually active teenage girls in comparison to teenage boys. This book does that. Laura addresses this issue with a head on, first person account of someone going through this. If a 16 year old boy reads this and doesn’t think twice about sharing nudes, calling that girl he takes maths with a slut or getting angry when his female best friend doesn’t want to shag him, then I will jump off the balcony of my hotel room.

Thank you, Laura. I wish I had read this when I was in school. Maybe my adolescent years wouldn’t have been so tough.

CURRENTLY READING: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

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IMI TALKS: Tarryn Fisher

If someone asked me to describe Tarryn Fisher’s books, I wouldn’t know where to start. Some books are romance, some thriller-esque, mysteries, self-adventures… you can’t put her in a box. The only thing all of her books have in common is that the writing comes from her soul; each book a reflection of Tarryn at that stage in her life. I like to think of them, cheesily, as horcruxes. Within each novel, she has poured something of herself; be it her love of another, her view of humanity, her view of herself or her feelings about the world we live in. From that, her readers are able to confront feelings they didn’t know they felt or didn’t want to acknowledge. Her books, no matter how painful they might be to read at the time, afford some kind of self-realisation or closure – at least, that’s what they’ve done for me.

Early this morning (UK time), Tarryn released her eleventh book, Atheists Who Kneel and Pray, which is set to be her best book yet. Supposedly a return to romance, AWKAP is about Yara, a wandering muse, and David, a man in search of one. All I can say is that whatever journey this novel takes me on, I will be forever grateful for the words Tarryn writes, the stories she spins and the parts of herself she gives us an insight into.

If you’ve never read a Tarryn Fisher book, you should start.

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Yara Phillips is a wandering muse. She dates men who need her, but always moves on to something new, never staying in one place for very long.

David Lisey is in need of a muse. A talented musician lacking lyrical inspiration. When he first sees her, he knows he’s found what he’s been looking for.

Yara believes she can give David exactly what he needs to reach his full potential: A broken heart.

David’s religion is love. Yara’s religion is heartache.

Neither is willing to surrender, but religion always requires sacrifice.

ATHEISTS WHO KNEEL AND PRAY | TARRYN FISHER