You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

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Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: 1 March 2016

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can- by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy,okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends- all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend; the heartbroken poet; the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome; and…Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal parts of herself that she buried with her brother.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I love YA books and the description of this one seriously grabbed my attention. I just had to know more.

Jaycee talked about getting lost in such an honest, raw way that I could almost feel her emotions jumping off the page at me. It quickly became apparent that she wasn’t the only one with issues and I found myself really enjoying meeting each character and learning about their lives. Individually they were interesting but as a group they were compelling!

Telling parts of the story with illustrations added a memorable and different element to the book, it helped bring everything to life and in my opinion made it stand out from the crowd.

The storyline was kind of dark and eerie but also touching at the same time. Once I’d started reading I found it incredibly hard to stop (even at 2 in the morning) because I just had to know what the group of friends would do next.

Being a YA read there was the obligatory thread of love/romance running through it. The interesting thing about this one, for me, was the silence. I’ll let you make of that what you will!

This was an intense read at times but always utterly fascinating, I simply couldn’t put it down. Even when I did manage to pry myself away, I still found myself thinking about it.

You Were Here was a captivating journey of self-discovery and gets an easy 5 stars from me.

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Kiera’s Quest: Choices by Kristy Brown

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Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Publication Date: 16 April 2014

“Feeling desperately confused and betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Kiera chose to jump through the disappearing vortex. Did she make it over to Zakk’s kingdom or was she pushed back to Earth? Would she even survive this time?

The next four years are long and heartbreaking for both worlds. As the darkness spreads throughout the lands, will Zakk’s army be able to stop it reaching Earth? Will Tom’s small band of rebels on earth stand a fighting chance?

At the time of the final battle will the Chosen One have the power to stop the oncoming evil or will it be too late?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and share my honest opinion. Regular Me, My Books and I readers may have already seen my reviews of the previous three books in the series but in case you missed them, click here.

Events at the end of book three were quite shocking so I was excited to find out what the final book would have in store for me but there was also a part of me that felt sad the series was coming to an end.

I soon found myself immersed in the storyline, eagerly trying to find out what would happen to Kiera and co. The author successfully created more tense and dramatic moments which kept me on the edge of my seat – even after four books I couldn’t predict what the Witch Queen would do next!

I could almost feel the connection between characters and this somehow made each scene believable (yes I know it’s fantasy but there you have it). Kiera’s abilities have grown with each book and that was no different this time around, it’s been fun watching her character evolve.

This was a quick, yet action-packed, read which provided me with some much-needed escapism. I’m giving it 5 stars!

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Any Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips

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Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 26 January 2016

“After a disastrous, reputation-destroying party at the end of junior year, Kat Henley has a new plan. When it comes to boys–especially other people’s boys:

Don’t touch.
Don’t smile.
Don’t charm.

In the past, drawing attention to herself helped distract people from what really makes Kat different–having two gay parents. But it’s also cost her friendships. Kat can’t afford to lose any more of those, especially not her cousin, Harper. They’re spending one last summer together at the lake, where they run into an intriguing newcomer named Emmett Reese. After years of trying to prove she’s just like everybody else, Kat has found someone who wants her because she’s not. A boy who could be everything she wants too–if Harper hadn’t liked him first. . .”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. It was the description that pulled me in and made me want to know more. I couldn’t wait to get started!

I was surprised to find that I disliked Kat to begin with. I did, however, love the fact that her homelife was so different from anything I’ve read before. As I got further into the storyline I felt as though I got to know and understand Kat better, therefore liking her more.

The author successfully created an atmosphere of tension and young lustfulness with her comfortable writing style. I found it so easy to become completely absorbed in the storyline – I lost all track of time as I flipped through the pages!

This was an absorbing read which mixed some complex life situations with the equally complex process of growing up. I couldn’t get enough so I’m giving Any Other Girl 5 stars.

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Book Spotlight | Thirst: Blood of my Blood by R P Channing

Today I’m back with another fab book in the spotlight:

Book Title - Thirst Blood of my Blood

by R P Channing.

THE BOOK

Thirst by R P Channing Cover

~ Kira Sutherland ~

After a near fatal accident (and getting cheated on by her ‘boyfriend’), and beating up the lead cheerleader (with whom the boyfriend cheated…), and being labeled as having ‘issues’ in her school because she, uhm, sees ghosts, Kira is left with two choices:

  1. Continue her ‘therapy’ (where she’s told the ghost is a hallucination and also gets her legs ogled too often…)

Or

  1. Go to Starkfield Academy, a boarding school for “Crazies and Convicts” (as the social media sites call them.)

She chooses the latter…

~ Cory Rand ~

Cory Rand has not had an easy life. His mother died in a car accident when he was twelve, and so did his mother’s best friend…sort of. You see, Janice made a promise to take care of Cory just before she died, and so she lingers. Undead. A ghost that watches out for him.

Brought up in an abusive home, Cory quickly falls into a life of disreputable behavior. After his third offense (which was prompted by a girl, as usual – he has a weakness) he’s left with two choices:

  1. Be tried as an adult and share a cell with a guy named Bubba (he thinks…)

Or

  1. Go to Starkfield Academy, which Cory is pretty sure is run by vampires. But, hey, at least he’ll get an education.

He chooses the latter…

It’s at Starkfield that Kira meets Cory Rand, a boy with an insatiable Rage who sees ghosts, too. As well as other things, other things from his past, things that confuse him, things like fire and witches and demons.

Things he’s always ignored.

Until now.”

EXCERPT

The Puppy Eyes

My life was perfect.

I had the perfect shoes and the perfect friends and I lived in the perfect house. My nails were perfect and my hair was perfect (except on Sundays, it was always windy on Sundays) and I had the perfect clothes. My lips were a perfect red and my hair perfectly straight. My eyeshadow was perfect, my hips were…okay, and my waist…well…also okay. Nothing was wrong in my life.

But then there was Jack.

Jack was a problem.

He needed to go. I mean, when you’re dead, you’re dead! I had told him this endlessly. Somehow, Jack didn’t get it. I mean, I felt sorry for the guy. Sure. Being stuck between this life and the next. But just because I found him, does that mean I needed to keep him?

I think not!

Sadly, when Jack got that look in his eyes, that weary, almost teary (if his tear-ducts worked) look, I melted. I just couldn’t send him away. Not even Jack knew where he would go after he died.

Would he, like, die? As in — dead, nada, kaput, finito, gone, no more? Bye bye, sayonara, ciao, hasta la vista baby and all that?

I couldn’t have that on my conscience. No way.

I lay on my bed, wondering what to do about him. “Jaaaaaaack,” I hollered.

“Jaaaaaaack!”

Still no answer.

“Jack!”

Jack…materialized.

His eyes rolled down to the ground. He was making those puppy eyes again. “Jack, I told you not to do that. I told you not to play on my sympathies.”

His puppy eyes became worse.

His skin was gray and, well, dead.

“Oh, brother,” I said. “I have to do something about you. If mom finds out I have another ‘imaginary friend’ — at my age — well, I’d die of embarrassment. But, like, really die. Not like you.” I wondered about this. Would I die? Was Jack a freak accident, or did all people live on like him? Think of the cemeteries…

The idea excited me somewhat.

“What would you have me do, Miss Kira?”

“Knock off the Miss Kira crap. I told you it’s just Kira.”

“Yes, Miss Kira.”

The dead. There’s just no reasoning.

“Fine, Miss Kira it is then.” Rover barked like a lunatic in the garden. No one else might be able to see Jack, but I was sure my dog could.

“I have to do something about this,” I mumbled.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

R P Channing started writing three years ago, but never published anything even after churning out over a million words of fiction. Thirst: Blood of my Blood is the first book he dared to publish. When asked why, he said, “Because it’s the first thing I wrote that my wife actually enjoyed reading.” When not hammering away (most literally) at his keyboard, he can be found buried in a book, reading anything from romance to horror to young adult to non-fiction to comedy.

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My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Egmont Publishing (Electric Monkey)

Publication Date: 7 January 2016

“The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I had already heard lots of good things about it so I couldn’t resist checking it out for myself.

The first chapter painted a lovely picture of curiosity and intrigue from Samantha. Her innocent fascination with her new neighbours, The Garretts, made me smile because I could imagine her so vividly in my mind watching them and eavesdropping to get more information.

Samantha was a sweet character and when her home life took a strange turn she found solace in a most unexpected place. This is where things got really interesting for me. I couldn’t help but chuckle at her first experience of the Garrett home, she was like a fish out of water but totally went along with it – this made me love her even more! Later on she had to make some difficult choices and I really hoped she would do the right thing.

Bringing a hard edge to the storyline was Tim who had some pretty serious issues going on. This was written in a delightfully believable way and left me wanting to do something to help him. Somehow he ended up being one of my favourites which is why I was so excited to discover that the author has written The Boy Most Likely To, it features Tim as a main character!

This was an addictive read with a young feel to it. A breathtaking glimpse into the nerve-wracking dance of first love.

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Jera's Jamboree/Talk of the Town

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

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Publisher: Mira Ink

Publication Date: 12 November 2015

“What if discovering who you really are means letting go of who you’ve been?

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re hopelessly in love.

When they separate for their first year at college they’re sure their relationship will stay rock solid.

The reality of being apart, however, is very different. Toni’s discovering a new world – and a new gender identity – but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside of their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen won’t understand Toni’s shifting identity, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in this puzzle. Now they must decide if their love is strong enough to last.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Midas PR for sending me this book to read and share my thoughts. The blurb really caught my attention and I was keen to find out if it would be as interesting as it sounded.

Where can I start – it was a fascinating read! This is not your average love story but that’s what made it so special in my eyes.

Toni and Gretchen had a natural spark but this raised the question of how each of them would react when they went to different colleges. What followed felt so real, the author had a wonderful way of bringing me into the storyline with her honest style of writing.

The thing that stood out the most was Toni’s struggle with gender identity. Not being something I’ve ever come across before it was a real eye-opener for me and I feel like I learned a few things on the subject. I think it would be a fantastic read for anyone who is dealing with this kind of dilemma or even knows of someone who’s going through it.

As with most YA books there was plenty of teenage drama and mountains of confusion to contend with. I personally found it a difficult book to put down because I needed to find out what life-changing decision would be made in the end.

This was a real page-turner, a refreshing read with an important message.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Robin Talley grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, writing terrible teen poetry and riding a desegregation bus to the school across town. Robin is married and lives in Washington, D.C., with an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice.

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