Young Adult

#BookReview
A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride
@McBrideKristina @skyponypress

The Official Synopsis:

One night. Two paths. Infinite danger.

On the night of the big spring break party, seventeen-year-old Hadley “borrows” her boyfriend Ben’s car without telling him. As payback, he posts a naked picture of her online for the entire senior class to see.

Now Hadley has a choice. She can go back to the party and force Ben to delete the picture. Or she can raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get.

Each storyline plays out in alternating chapters. In one strand, Hadley embarks on a reckless adventure with her best friends, spinning the perfect plan for revenge. In the other, stuck in a car with her ex-boyfriend, Josh, she’s forced to revisit the mistakes they each made, including whether they should ever have broken up at all. As events of a wild night race toward an explosive conclusion, old feelings are rekindled, friendships are tested, and secrets uncovered that are so much worse than a scandalous photo.

A Million Times Goodnight is a fast-paced romantic contemporary thriller ripped right from the headlines.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Mysterious, thought-provoking, and romantic!

A Million Times Goodnight is a young adult novel that reminds us that every choice has a consequence and sometimes those consequences have far-reaching ramifications.

The characters are young, fearless, and at times irresponsible. The writing style is unique and delves into the idea of parallel universes by utilizing alternating chapters to present the different “what if” scenarios. And the plot is a fast-paced, twisty thrill ride full of adventure, heartbreak, and surprises.

It is, ultimately, a story about life, love, secrets, deception, betrayal, teenage drama, and friendship.

A Million Times Goodnight is a very intriguing novel that at times is quite moving. And although I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would have liked to I think teens, the target demographic, would definitely be able to identify and relate to their behaviour, mindset, and choices more readily.

 

About the Author:

Kristina McBride is a former high school English teacher and yearbook advisor, as well as an adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest and Wright State University. She dreamed of being a published author since she lived across the street from a library as a kid. She is the author of two previous novels, The Tension of Opposites and One Moment. She lives in Centerville, Ohio with her husband and two young children.

 

 

Thank you to Sky Pony Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Kristina McBride, visit her website at: kristinamcbride.com

or follow her on twitter at: @McBrideKristina

#BookReview
Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
@GwenCole_ @skyponypress

Synopsis:

Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.


Book Rating: 8/10

Harrowing, intense and poignantly emotional!

In this debut novel by Cole, she gives us a time-travel piece full of familial dynamics, friendship, teenage angst, fear, guilt, abandonment, trust, disappointment, unconditional support, and young love.

The writing is earnest and smooth. The characters are troubled, vulnerable and coming of age. And the plot, although a little inconsistent in pace at times, provides a captivating, heart-rending look at the psychological and physical effects of war, the struggles of finding one’s identity and place in the world, and the nervousness and excitement of falling in love for the first time.

Overall, I would have to say this is a quick, enjoyable, moving YA read with endearing characters you can’t help but root for and hope they find peace and happiness.

 

About the Author:

 

Gwen Cole grew up in upstate New York and then moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college. Instead she played bass guitar in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She enjoys large jigsaw puzzles, playing Xbox and softball, and watching movies. Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.

 

Thank you to Sky Pony Press and Gwen Cole for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

For more information on Gwen Cole, visit her website at: gwenmcole.com

or follow her on twitter at: @GwenCole_

#BookReview
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Synopsis:

We live in the same place, but never together.

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.


Book Rating: 6.5/10

Poignant, tragic and excessively complex!

In this latest novel by Brashares she delves into the emotional and psychological effects of blended families on all those involved and highlights the challenges faced by those specifically caught in the middle.

The characters are vulnerable, troubled and coming of age. The prose is simple and clear. And the plot, which is ultimately about guilt, love, life, loss, yearning, heartbreak, deception, friendship and family just seems to have a little too many subplots, too much angst, too much drama and too many issues, including class, divorce and race to not get bogged down and overpower the characterization and fluidity of the main storyline.

I am a huge fan of Ann Brashares from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series and I look forward to reading other novels by her in the future but for me this one wasn’t one of her best.

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways, especially Random House Canada, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

For more information on Ann Brashares, visit her website at: annbrashares.com

or follow her on twitter at: @AnnBrashares

Book Review: 93% Chance I Don’t Hate You by L. Taylor & Amy H. Lynn

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The Official Synopsis:

Ashton Lewis doesn’t have a care in the world. His only sources of stress are passing mixed media art classes and setting up a tattoo parlor one day. But when the one-night-stand-only lifestyle no longer appeals to him, Ashton decides it’s time to settle down. A drunken mistake and a poorly chosen pseudonym later, Ashton finds himself on a blind date with his classmate, Carter Redford, the stuck up rich girl whom Ashton is pretty sure hates him. 

College junior Carter Redford has been groomed to take over the family business since before she could talk. Heiress to a major entertainment journalism company, almost every aspect of her life is controlled by her overbearing parents, from the clothes she wears, to who her friends are, and eventually, the man she marries. 

While this is not ideal for Carter, she is ready to sacrifice her own happiness if it is what her family needs. That is, until one day, when her best friend Jackson convinces her to try blind dating. More specifically, to use an app called Blinder. 

Expecting someone business minded and type A, Carter is astonished to learn that her blind date is with none other than her fellow student – Ashton Lewis. Though he is gorgeous and a talented artist, Carter is hardly pleased with his “devil may care” attitude, and would rather take her chances on the man her parents have picked out for her than a laid back slacker. But when Carter’s curiosity gets the best of her, and Ashton manages to pull her into his unstructured lifestyle, Carter may not be able to resist the rushes of freedom and rebellion he encourages. 

A laugh out loud romantic drama, 93% Chance I Don’t Hate You is a novel about overcoming prejudices, standing up for oneself, and learning how to live life on one’s own terms.


Book Rating: 8/10

Sweet, charming, and funny!

This is a coming-of-age story filled with familial pressure, friendship, self discovery, partiality, and love.

The writing flows nicely. The characters are young, interesting, complex, and steadily grow on you more-and-more as the story progresses. And the plot has a nice amount of angst, humour, and romance to keep you engaged and intrigued throughout.

Overall, I think these two young indie authors did a really good job on this novel and I look forward to reading a lot more from them in the future to come.

Thank you to L. Taylor & Amy H. Lynn, the authors, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. It was a real pleasure.

This book is due to be published on September 27, 2016.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

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The Official Synopsis:

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?


Book Rating: 7/10

I was really excited to read this novel as I have previously read Kimberly McCreight’s other two novels, Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her, and really enjoyed them.

This story, for me, started off really well, in fact it was positively creepy. The plot was interesting, mysterious, and suspenseful. And all the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat and totally engrossed.

However, the second half of the book seemed a little less intriguing. The plot lost a little momentum, became a bit disjointed, and felt slightly unrealistic.

Overall, though, I think it’s a good story. The writing is strong. And the characters are complex, flawed, and determined. 

This book is certainly unique and interesting, and I think it is definitely worth a read.

 

 

London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning

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The Official Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Sunny’s always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she’s sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she’s got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London – starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can’t even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she’d have anything in common with – least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French ‘twins’ (they’re really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it’s the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone – from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers – is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.


Book Rating: 9/10

This is a clever, laugh-out-loud funny, imaginative novel.

The writing is exceptional. The characters are smart, adventurous, and engaging. And I love that the sights, sounds, history and diversity of London play a key role, and is a character itself.

The plot is fast-paced, the whole story takes place within 12 hours, is full of fantastic escapades, and is so engaging you will read this book in one sitting.

This is a great book. I loved it.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bonnier Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on June 2, 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

9460487

The Official Synopsis:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

I have seen this book many times but it wasn’t until I recently saw it on a “Books Becoming Movies in 2016” list that I decided to give it a try.

I actually thought from the picture on the front cover of this book that it might be a horror story, but boy was I surprised.

This is actually a highly imaginative tale about those with extraordinary abilities. It takes place in the present, and the past during the height of WWII.

I have to say, there are elements of this story that remind me a little of such classics as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Harry Potter. Similar to those stories, the children, themselves, are the protectors and heroes against the monsters that hunt them, and they use portals for time travel between the present and the past to survive.

The writing is simple but effective. The plot is creative, suspenseful, and magical. It truly is a very unique story.

Keep in mind, there are two other novels in the series, Hollow City and Library of Souls, where the battles and adventures of these “peculiar children” continue.

Also, the movie for this first book is set to be released in theatres in September 2016.

 

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

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The Official Synopsis:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.

Two Peas in a pod.

Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything – so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben Allister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open – until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This book deals with the very serious subject matter of teen suicide and the affects that it has on those left behind, such as parents, friends, acquaintances.

The book is narrated by “Cody”, the best friend, and the plot involves her struggle to grieve and to rid herself of guilt, while at the same time trying to uncover the “why” of it all.

The story is written in a very real way. There is no gloss or glamour. The characters are flawed and must endure other hardships than just the main plot.

All in all, although the story is about a dark issue, I think the author does well to show the importance of hope and self forgiveness by the end of the story.

I think this is definitely worth a read, especially for all those young adults out there.

 

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