Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem With Forever
by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Summary: For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
Jennifer L. Armentrout being the author of this book was the whole reason I wanted to read it -- I've read a few of her books so far and I've really enjoyed all of them. And this one? This one was probably one of my favourites of hers so far and I am so glad that I read it -- I adored it so much.

I loved the characters and the story -- it's one of those ones that's just really cute and while not much happens plot-wise, it never bored me, I was just content to read about the characters and see how their relationship evolved. Mallory and Rider... I loved them individually, but together? I really, really loved their relationship, it was such an adorable bond that they had and I couldn't help but root for them.

The main reason I loved the story though was the way that it dealt with mental health issues. It didn't trivialize anxiety issues and it showed the way that people who have anxiety are sometimes judged or misunderstood (i.e. people assume we're just shy) and it showed that it's not always something that can easily be "fixed" by taking a pill or a few therapy sessions.

And the best part was, it didn't romanticize it either... so many books that have characters with mental health issues (e.g. depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, etc.) romanticize them in shockingly bad ways. They turn them into quirks that the love interest finds cute or a way to make them "not like other girls" (eugh)... This one didn't do that. Rider never seemed to like her because of her issues or in spite of them, he just liked her as a person -- he's accepting and understanding of her limits and doesn't judge her for them, and he's so supportive and that was one of the things that made me love their relationship so much.

The only thing I didn't love about the book was Mallory's relationship with her adoptive parents. It had its moments of being great but sometimes it felt a little off, a little weird, like she was just their project rather than their daughter -- but I think that was intentional (to an extent), rather than a flaw in the writing, because their relationship does change and evolve. A big part of the weirdness was tied to the way Mallory acted with them, like she was trying to be perfect for them, like she didn't feel their love for her was unconditional...which makes total sense within the story.

So...yes. Jennifer L. Armentrout is definitely on my insta-buy list now -- in fact, I'm going to need to buy this book just so I can have a physical copy on my shelves because I loved it that much (I read it as an e-ARC). If you've not read any of her books yet? Maybe do that now. This one is a good place to start.

I'd rate it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Later.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

The Leaving
by Tara Altebrando


Summary: Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.
Well then. This was an odd little book, and I (mostly) loved it.

It was one of those books that's just really addictive and hard to put down. The writing was really good, although I had a love/hate relationship with some of the stylistic choices the author made because the little quirks in the way Lucas and Scarlett's chapters were written (hers in particular) were really distinctive and original...but sometimes a bit distraction too and would interrupt the flow of a chapter (maybe that was the point though, I don't know).

The plot was really interesting. I'm still not sure what to make of it -- it was weird, but I liked it and I mostly liked the way it all played out.

The reason I said I "(mostly)" loved it was because there was one part of the story I pretty much hated: Avery. One of the POV characters.

She was just so annoying (most of the time) and awful (a lot of the time) and I'd get so frustrated whenever it would switch to her POV because she'd drag the whole story down. I think there was maybe one or two paragraphs in the entirety of her chapters that didn't irritate me. Plus, the romance storyline with her is so, so contrived and didn't work at all -- they didn't make sense together, it was so forced and rushed and insta-lust portrayed as love.

I'd have much preferred another one of the five kids be the POV character, or Lucas's brother or something. I could have tolerated her as a side character without the silly romance (and normally I love the romance parts of books, just not this one).

So yeah...I loved the book, except for Avery and anything relating to her (it'd probably be on my favourites shelf if it weren't for that). I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5 and I'm really looking forward to reading more of Tara's books.

Later.

Monday, 6 June 2016

London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning

London Belongs To Us
by Sarra Manning


Summary: 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..
This book was kind of like London's lighthearted answer to Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and I pretty much adored it, it was so funny and fun and cute.

When I compare it to Nick & Norah, what I mean is that the city itself almost becomes a character and it's one extraordinary night in the city for a character who sets out searching for something but ends up finding so much more and unexpected along the way...and I love that.

And Sunny? She was awesome. I haven't liked a character so much in a long time, she's the kind of girl that I could see myself being friends with. She was funny and fierce and brave, and I appreciated the bravery even more because it wasn't something that just came naturally to her but she made choices to put herself out of her comfort zone. And her friends were great too. Particularly Emmeline and the French boys (loved Jean-Luc, and Vic made me laugh). And there was so much positive female relationships and it acknowledges the silly ways we (girls) judge each other sometimes, especially when we're younger.

It is the type of story that can be frustrating in the beginning though, because Sunny is in such denial about her crappy boyfriend to start off with and everyone (literally pretty much everyone) tries to get her to see the truth... and it's realistic and understandable, but because I liked Sunny so much (seriously, right from the first page) it was kind of like that feeling you get when you're friends with someone and they're dating someone who isn't even close to being good enough for them and you have to sit there and wait until they figure that out for themselves.

It's one of those books that has laugh out loud moments and makes your face hurt from smiling and occasionally makes your heart ache from cuteness. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5. I really need to read more of Sarra Manning's books now.

Later.

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