The Window by Amelia Brunskill

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The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Published: April 3rd 2018 by Delacorte Press

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

I am not going to lie, whilst I had this on my TBR, it wasn’t high on my radar. I haven’t really seen a lot of people talking about it – so I picked this up for my kindle on a bit of a whim because of the mood I was in. I am so glad I did because this book was just amazing in SO MANY different ways, and I feel that a lot more people should be reading it already!

I think my favourite aspect of this book was the way in which it was written. Interspersed between each of Jess’ chapters was a couple of lines from Anna, slowly telling the story. With the clues that Jess was trying to figure out, and the snippets of Anna’s story in between, the author managed to create a mystery that really had me guessing right up until the very end. I was constantly changing my theories and I love the way that this book twisted and turned and kept me on my toes. As soon as I had thought I had something figured out, something happened and everything was put back on its head. Fragments of what happened to Anna, and the clues that she left behind were constantly being questioned by Jess, and it left the reader wondering if Jess was reading too much into things, or if something really did happen to Anna… and it also put a lot of focus on the grieving process and what was happening to Jess throughout psychologically.

Grief plays a HUGE part in this book – especially the grieving process. I loved the way in which the author featured various different grieving processes and represented the idea that everyone grieves differently and that there is no wrong way to grieve. Whether it is trying to find closure, accepting what has happened and moving on or even trying to find a second chance amongst everything that happened, everyone in this book processed things differently and it added an extra element to the story itself.  Having said that, the author also managed to weave in the idea of whether grief can be taken too far and just how low we can sink when we are grieving.

I also liked the fact that the author didn’t just represent grief through the loss of a friend/daughter/sibling through death. The author used various plot points to highlight different forms of grief and loss – loss of innocence, self worth, love and relationships and childhood. Everyone was facing different issues and processing it in different ways and showing different forms of grief, even within their everyday lives.

The author also wove in different societal issues that we face today and showed how one can affect another and how that in turn can affect something else. It was written in such a way that focused on teens trying to find themselves and navigate the world around them and the way in which it can sometimes go completely wrong – Alcoholism, the date rape drug, death, corruption, pedophilia, blackmail, sexual assault. Brunskill tied everything together and this book contributed, I think, in a huge way to the discussion of various issues and I really think that, young people especially, should be reading this book.

I also loved the way that this book focused on good things in amongst the bad. The sibling bond that Jess and Anna had was beautiful. Being twins, they had a different kind of special bond, that often left people feeling a little left out, but it was a bond that stuck right up until the very end, and even after Anna’s death. They were loyal to each other, as many siblings are (myself and my brother included) and I loved the fact that it showed that, even though you might not always get along with your siblings or see eye to eye with them, they’ll always be there for you in the end.

The ending was extremely bittersweet. I don’t want to give too much away, but the development and the changes that Jess went through throughout the book, and the point that she had gotten to by the end was both heart warming and heart breaking. I was left ugly sobbing in the corner – that’s all I’m saying.

All in all, I loved this book. It was poignant and heart breaking, but also bittersweet right up until the end. It focused on so many different issues and wove them all together pretty seamlessly. I gave this book 5/5 stars

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Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

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Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Published: March 13th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers

A congressman’s daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who’s tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who’s done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion.

They couldn’t be more different, but before the morning’s over, they’ll all be trapped in a school that’s been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they’ll also be looking to one another for answers.

This book was one of my highly anticipated releases of March. Especially with whats currently going on with #MarchForOurLives, I was excited to see how the author tackles this subject. However, I found this book to be extremely predictable and too stereotypical to have really added anything to the current discussion. I felt that this book should have been much more complex than it was in so many ways than it was and it was just left lacking .

My biggest issue with this book was just how stereotypical all of our main players were. There was no real depth to any of the characters beyond their stereotypes and some of the characters really don’t change or take ANYTHING from the experience they went through and shared. The author did include a diverse set of characters – but they needed to be fleshed out and developed beyond the social stereotypes and the predictable secrets that they were holding onto. From Jocks who are in the closet, to a congressman daughter who feels like she is trapped being a person that she doesn’t want to be, to a teen who ha lost his mum and hates the whole world (and the friend he has who is trying to save him from himself), to the muslim who is IMMEDIATELY blamed for the situation without proof and the student who is bullied to the point of suicide – the characters are a wide cast of different people, but I wanted to get to know them on a deeper level and not just for their ‘secrets’.

I feel like this book tried to introduce too many social issues and didn’t actually talk about them in any great detail. I would have rather the book focused on 1 or 2 and had actually discussed them in depth, as opposed to touching on various and not bringing anything to the bigger discussion. I also liked the fact that Charbonneau introduced a political aspect with the legislation that Diana’s father was trying to pass (I don’t want to spoil it), but, again, I think it could have been discussed on a larger and deeper scale in a way that would have mattered.

I liked the fact that Charbonneau brought together a band of people who would usually have NOTHING to do with one and another and stuck them in a situation in which they had to rely on one another to get them through the situation. Especially when the characters find out that one of them is responsible for the bombing and the way that they had to continue to rely on each other whilst trying to figure out who it was.

This book was also too predictable for me. I already knew who it was right from the very beginning chapter of that character and I had guessed why they did it. It was too obvious in the way in which certain things were described and the things that they did – so, in this sense, I would have liked a bit more of a whodunnit that would have had me guessing throughout.

I would have also liked to have seen more psychologically repercussions after the event. I felt that only one character really showed any sign of struggling to come to terms with what had happened, whilst I felt that a couple of other really took nothing away from the experience itself. It annoyed me that there didn’t seem to be any character development at all and it was almost like nothing happened for them.

All in all, I struggled with this book. I felt like it could have added a lot more to the current discussion if it had been executed in the right way, as well as added something to other discussions such as suicide awareness and homosexuality in sports. I struggled to connect emotionally to any of these characters and it was just too predictable. I gave this 2/5 stars.

March Wrap Up

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great month. I have definitely had an amazing month, and when I look back through it, I feel like March has been extremely long. In amongst everything I managed to read, I also managed to binge watch Vampire Diaries up until about episode 8 in season 5. So… I’ve definitely gotten through a lot this month!

Read:

Started:

Bought/Acquired:

ARCs/Review Copies:

Beta:

  • Rock – A – Bye Baby by LRW Lee

Goodreads Monday:

 

Other posts:

Book of the Month:

TCP

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Published: January 2nd 2018 by LBBFYR

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

I hope you all had an amazing month like I did! Feel free to add your links to the comments so I can check them out!

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to link up in the comments so that others can see what you picked.

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! It has been FREEZING over here, so I’ve been hiding indoors and bingeing Vampire Diaries on Netflix.

Anyway, this weeks pick for me is a book I discovered recently and one I am excited to pick up.

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Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson

Published: September 1st 2015 by Simon Pulse

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto the school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.

But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing bullets at his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. This is a book told from multiple perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—by some of YA’s most recognizable names.

Lies that Bind by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

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Lies that Bind by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Published: March 6th 2018 by Entangled Teen

The Italian Job meets Bourne Identity meets Spy Kids in this sequel to Proof of Lies.

What if saving yourself meant destroying everyone you love?

Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia.

But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find.

As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust. Including her best friends…

NOTE: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.

Lies that Bind is the sequel to Proof of Lies in the Anastasia Phoenix series. I read the first book a while back and really enjoyed it, so I was ecstatic when the publisher reached out and offered to send an ARC of this book ass well. However, for me, this book suffered from second book blues and I ultimately ended up DNFing it.

This book starts off where the previous on leaves off. Not a lot of time has elapsed between the two, so it was easy to keep track of what had happened in between books and where the characters are now. There were also plenty of reminders about what had happened in book one, so I didn’t need to struggle to remember what had happened previously, which I found to be a bonus.

However, I didn’t connect to this story as I had to the first book. There was no hook that really kept me interested and I often found myself putting the book down and doing something else. It felt extremely repetitive in the way in which the characters were acting and what they were saying and it really put me off wanting to read it because it felt like points kept being rehashed where they didn’t need to be.

Another issue I had with this book was that the plot was slow. I got up to about 25% of the way though and nothing had really happened. The plot itself was slow and it just appeared to be a lot of back and fourth arguments about what they were going to do next. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere and it failed to keep me only toes in the way in which book one did.

I also didn’t connect with Anastasia like I did in book 1. She came across as relatively whiny and it really felt like she had taken a step backward in the character development department. I struggled to care about what was going to happen to her in the long run, which impacted how I connected to the story as a whole. The way in which she started to call all the decisions and didn’t even stop to consider what anyone else had to say irritated me.

Anthony was also a dislikable character to me. His whole personality grated only nerves and I really just wanted to punch him every time he spoke. I struggled to even trust him and I didn’t really care about seeing things from his perspective because of the way in which he treated other characters.

All in all, I was disappointed with this book. It didn’t hold the same spark that hame hooked in book one and the plot and character development was sorely lacking. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free ti add your links to the comments so that others can see what you picked.

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend. Can you believe February is coming to a close? I am one of the people that thought January took FOREVER to come and go, but I feel February has flown by! I do wish the weather would lighten up a bit, though, and stop snowing!

Anyway, this pick for me is a highly anticipated read of mine and I am really looking forward to picking it up!

MR

Mercy Rule by Tom Leveen

Published: February 20th by Sky Pony Press

Danny’s parents yanked him from the art school that let him wear a kilt and listen to bands that no one’s heard of. Now he’s starting sophomore year at the public high school–the one with the gymnasium at the heart of the building and the glorified athletes who rule it all. The smart thing would be to blend in, but Danny has always been about making statements.

Brady just wants to get out. Go to college, play football, maybe reach the NFL. He definitely wants to stop waiting for his deadbeat mother to come home, sleeping on park benches, and going to bed hungry. But first he has to lead the team to the championships. It all adds up to a lot of stress. So who can really blame him when he and the football team turn their aggressions on the new freak? Even the quarterback needs to blow off steam sometimes.

Coach turns a blind eye to his players’ crimes–because this year, they’re going to States. But maybe if Coach had paid more attention they could’ve caught it before it all happened. Maybe it could’ve been avoided.

Maybe.

With quick cuts between a large cast of unforgettable characters, and razor-sharp plotting, Tom Leeven takes readers on a countdown to an inevitable, horrifying act. This gripping novel offers an intense, smart perspective on the tragic, toxic mindsets behind the celebrated American sport and the monsters it creates

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

PBMD

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Published: February 13th 2018 by Tor Teen

A CIA prodigy’s cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

When I first saw this on Netgalley, I decided to request it because it looked like a quick, fun, cheesy read – something that would just cheer you up and let you escape for a couple go hours. However, this book did not cheer me up, and I actually ended up DNFing it. The characters, the descriptions and some of the ideas that the author had left me eye rolling pretty hard – to the point where I’m pretty sure that my eyes got stuck in the back of my head.

I’m going to start off with the MC. I struggled to really engage in this story because I found Peter/Jake to be extremely unlikeable. He was constantly complaining and whining and was pretty condescending toward others – whether it was just his thoughts and the way in which he saw people or whether it was things he said to other characters. He was horrible the person who was supposed to be his best friend within this book and it just grated on my nerves. I physically couldn’t connect to him as a character because I found no relatable qualities in him whatsoever. Despite his many mistakes etc. he still acted like he was better than everyone else and it really drew me out of the story.

His best friend’s back story (Bunker) also seemed completely out there and extremely unlikely. His dad took him underground (for reasons I have forgotten) and he doesn’t resurface for 15 years. It then seems unlikely to me that he is able to get into a relatively prestigious school on a scholarship and that he would be relatively sane of mind and pretty current with the times when he has been underground for the past 15 years. Surely he would have various psychological, if not also physical, issues that would confine him to a hospital/unit until he has be rehabilitated into the real world?

I think the biggest issue for me, and ultimately what led me to putting the book down, is the way in which Peter (the author) dismissed the possibility of a character being the hacker he’s looking for because: She’s English and beautiful and she has an amazing English accent and her hair smells English (Strawberries and Vanilla, who knew? Pretty sure my hair currently smells like coconut, so does this make me not English?), and she kisses super amazing and she’s English and Rich as hell… Did I mention that she’s English? This is what the book basically read like for me and to dismiss a female character because of these relatively shallow things got on my goat. It made me angry and I actually put the book down because I just couldn’t face reading anymore.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed, and irritated, with this book. I was expecting something fun and cheesy and got quite the opposite. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your links to the comments so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! I hope you all had an awesome weekend! It snowed and then rained promptly afterward, so relatively wet over here!

Anyway, this weeks pick for me is a book that doesn’t come out until a little later on in the year BUT I received an ARC of it via Netgalley! I absolutely loved book 1 (Follow Me Back) and I cannot wait to see what this conclusion will bring!

TMNL

Tell Me No Lies by A. V. Geiger

Expected Publication: June 5th 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

Love. Obsession. Jealousy. Murder.

No one knows what happened to pop icon Eric Thorn. His Twitter account? Frozen. His cell phone? Cracked and bloody, buried in the snow.

Agoraphobic fangirl Tessa Hart knows the truth, but she’s finally left her #EricThornObsessed days behind. She has no intention of ever touching her Twitter app again. But Snapchat… That’s safer, right?

After months of living under the radar, Tessa emerges from hiding, forced to face the deadly consequences of her past. But in the interrogation room, answers only lead to more questions in the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Follow Me Back duology.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your link to the comments so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend 🙂 It snowed here again – I was hoping for warmer weather, but no. Hopefully it will warm up sometime this week.

Anyway, this weeks pick for me is an ARC copy of a book that I have that releases later this month! I am extremely excited to get to it (probably be my next read after I have finished up the book I am currently reading), and I am hoping it lives up to my expectations.

PBMD

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Expected Publication: February 13th by Tor Teen

A CIA prodigy’s cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your links to the comments so that others can see what you picked!

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! It’s actually starting to get pretty cold over here, which means coats and winter shoes! There is nothing better than snuggling up with a blanket, a good book and a cup of coffee when it’s absolutely freezing outside!

Anyway, this weeks pick for me is a book that I recently picked up a copy of. I have had this on my TBR for a little while now and I am definitely looking forward to getting to it 🙂

Skinny.jpg

Skinny by Ibi Kaslik

Published: September 19th 2006 by Walkers Children’s

Amazon: Skinny

Do you ever get hungry?  Too hungry to eat?
 
Holly’s older sister, Giselle, is self-destructing. Haunted by her love-deprived relationship with her late father, this once strong role model and medical student, is gripped by anorexia. Holly, a track star, struggles to keep her own life in balance while coping with the mental and physical deterioration of her beloved sister. Together, they can feel themselves slipping and are holding on for dear life.
 
This honest look at the special bond between sisters is told from the perspective of both girls, as they alternate narrating each chapter.  Gritty and often wryly funny, Skinny explores family relationships, love, pain, and the hunger for acceptance that drives all of us.

This looks like it could be a hard hitting, but great read if it is done right!

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/ Litsy @ Lauren’s Page Turners