Tag Archives: YA

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Published in 2017

286 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Let’s Talk about the Plot:

I actually really enjoyed this book, which frankly, sounds odd, because there were some parts that I found completely agonising (like when Aza constantly fed herself hand sanitizer, because she thought it was helping her). But honestly, the plot constantly kept me intrigued. There was quite a bit of mystery to it, and I honestly didn’t know what would happen next, and the writing didn’t feel too forced, everything flowed perfectly and the characters felt really real and relatable. Definitely my new favourite John Green, I didn’t actually think I’d enjoy this, the only book of his I wholly enjoyed was The Fault in Our Stars, but this one had me wholly invested in Aza and her journey. I really liked the mystery aspect too, I had no idea what might’ve happened to Davis’s dad, but I knew I needed to find out.

Let’s talk about the characters:

Aza definitely was a character I related to; I admit, when I was younger I used to be a hypochondriac, forever obsessing about germs and illness. To this day, part of me still thinks about this and once that switch is triggered, it’s hard to turn off. Now, although Aza wasn’t exactly that, she definitely, I would say, was worried about germs in her body and for that, I could definitely relate. Even to the extent where she wouldn’t kiss someone, I have been there. I was once (and perhaps still am) terrified of too many germs entering my system. Anyway, I know I’m stalling, but I will say Aza was a loving daughter and a loyal friend, even though she wasn’t always mentally there for Daisy. I actually enjoyed, in fact I found it refreshing, because she was written so human. Her thoughts summed up how I’ve felt about things in the past, and honestly my heart ached for her mental pain. I just wanted her to realise that she is an amazing human that’s doing her best.

I’ll also never not think of her when I see or use hand sanitizer again, truthfully. The parts where she drank it chilled me, honestly I ached that she had to go to that extreme and how she thought she was so insufficient. Even though I couldn’t exactly relate to these aspects of her personality, I definitely found Aza to be one of the most relatable characters, and it’s a total surprise that this book is a new favourite. I need more characters like Aza in my life.

I loved Daisy too! I absolutely adored her friendship with Aza, and I’m glad Daisy sort of pushed Aza in to realising certain things, even if it lead to a nail biting scene. Both characters complimented each other perfectly, to be honest: and Daisy really loved Aza; they were always there for one another, just in different ways. And I thought Daisy’s Star Wars obsession was fun, definitely a quirky aspect to the story, with her passion for Chewbacca and Rey and writing Star Wars fic. Some of the scenes mentioning this really made me laugh, and actually the same can be said for Daisy. At times she was a really funny character, and at times she was definitely what Aza needed, I think.

Davis was great too, he was constantly going through his own grief, his father’s disappearance being the context of the mystery in the book, and I definitely felt for him. I loved reading his blog entries, with quotes from people such as Shakespeare and Terry Pratchett, which echoed Davis’s thoughts. I really liked his scenes with Aza too, I feel like both characters went really well together, and he was really understanding of her nature. Their scenes were written so simply, it was utterly wonderful and refreshing; and I love how much he cared for Noah, his younger brother. It was so precious reading the parts where Davis was talking about Noah, I really felt for those two.

Let’s Talk About the Writing:

I was addicted. This book has reawakened my faith in John Green. The Fault in Our Stars has always been a long time favourite book of mine, and this beauty is definitely standing proud next to it. I’ll read this again, easily. It was such a unique story and the writing was packed full of everything, it made me laugh, cry and flail with sad frustration at times, and Aza has definitely helped how I see things in life, so I’m definitely grateful for this book.

Until next time, happy reading.

Brooklyn 🙂

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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Book 1 in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

Published in 2011

418 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Note: I’ll be keeping this one exceptionally brief, honestly, if you haven’t read this already, do. It’s perfection.

Let’s talk about the plot:

So unique! I have never read anything like this before! It was honestly such an intriguing and complex and magical plot, and not once overwhelming. I could honestly feel the magic in this story seeping through the pages, and I couldn’t get enough!

Let’s talk about the characters:

Karou is honestly a new favourite of mine, she is amazing! Full of hope, curiosity, art and wander, I love everything about her, and her blue hair is fabulous, might I add! There’s a lot about Karou that had me asking questions though, and honestly I couldn’t predict the twists and turns that she’d come into contact with!

Suzana and Karou have one of my new favourite friendships, like ever. I love how the former isn’t at all sceptical of the latter, and she’s always there for her. I feel like the two friends compliment each other perfectly, and Zuzana is full of so much sass and attitude, she’s just amazing!

Brimstone was such a great character too! I love his bond with Karou and how protective he was of her!

Akiva, oh gosh. Such a precious cinnamon roll, a soldier, with such a heart full of love. Except…I can’t say too much but a revelation came and I was then all of the conflicted. Angst and feels aplenty, but oh, it was beautiful. All of it! I’m still thinking about it as I type.

Let’s talk about the writing:

Magical, full of wishes and hope and beauty. As I said, I haven’t read anything like this before, and can’t wait to continue the series! This one is definitely being added to my favourites, I mean it had me dreaming, laughing and feeling! And more! There was not one boring moment, and I couldn’t predict what would happen next! I definitely think there’s something in this book for everyone! I can’t wait to see what happens next!!

Until next time, happy reading,

Brooklyn 🙂

Book Review: Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

Published in 2017

294 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.

Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.

Let’s Talk About The Plot:

This was definitely more character orientated than plot orientated, so to keep this spoiler free I’ll keep it short. The reader is taken into the life of Adam, who had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and it really just gives us an insight into his everyday life, as he navigates through school and life in general.

Let’s talk about the characters:

Adam is our narrator, as I mentioned, I honestly thought that he was an amazing male narrator. I felt like I was seeing everything through his eyes, and I felt his torment and intensity when he was having his delusions. He was so smart, and witty, and having the book written as a journal format, in his thoughts, worked so well, because I felt like it was bringing me closer to Adam, seeing other characters as he did, as well as thinking his thoughts about everything and every one.

Maya was a great character too, I felt like she complimented Adam really well, and the two had some great interactions! I also adored Adam’s mum, she was so loyal and protective of her son, and unafraid of him. Hats off to Paul too, Adam’s stepdad, who was such a great male father figure. Every character worked so brilliantly, I felt like they were brought to life in this book so much!

Let’s talk about the writing:

I finished this book in the space of an evening, I couldn’t put it down! The writing felt so natural, it honestly felt like someone’s journal! The pacing was quick, I couldn’t guess what would come next, I was even second guessing what was real in the book and what wasn’t.

Schizophrenia is portrayed so vividly in this book, the illness is something I’ve seen close hand, and the book captures it well! I was actually addicted to reading this book, I tried to pause in between but it wasn’t happening. It was all so vivid! I felt like I was adam, I felt like I could literally see what he saw, literally.

Everyone needs to read this book! I feel like it should be compulsory reading in late high school stages too, honestly. I felt like I learnt a lot from this book, and I hope people that feel like they’re suffering from any mental illness know that they’re not alone.

Also, the quote from Dumbledore, the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince reference:

“Of course it’s inside your head, Harry. But why does that mean it’s not real?”

Couldn’t be more accurate, period.

And that concludes my review, until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Brooklyn ~~

Book Review: The Beast Within by Serena Valentino

Published in 2016

218 pages

2 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Sypnosis:

A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?

Let’s Talk about the Plot:

Okay, I’m going to keep this one brief, and spoiler free as much as I can. I was interested in this one for some time, being a massive fan of Beauty and the Beast, I was looking forward to hearing from said ‘Beast’, and I liked the whole past to present structure of the story, but I felt like the plot didn’t make sense? Well, it did, but it didn’t seem to contribute anything to the Tale we all know so much and love. I will give the author points thought, it surprised me how she bright Gaston into it as a positive figure. I was hoping for angst, seen as it’s suggested and shown that he was friendly with young Prince Adam, but sadly that didn’t happen.

Let’s talk about the writing:

The writing, as I mentioned, I liked, because it jumped from present to past and then back and forth, and I liked how the author wrote Cogsworth, Lumiere and Mrs Potts, I just feel like perhaps if the book was longer, then the story would’ve made more sense? The ending and the lead up to the ending definitely felt a bit abrupt. Usually I get teary and emotional at the climax of Beauty and the Beast, but I was definitely feeling indifferent when I finished this.

Let’s talk about the characters:

Belle, The Beast, Gaston, Lumiere and Cogsworth were all written well, I liked that very much because I freaking love all those characters (except Gaston). The new characters, Princess Tulip and her Nanny, both just seemed pointless, the former was just a simpering princess in love with the Beast at times, back when he was Prince Adam and not the beast. And the sister group of witches annoyed me to no end. The way they acted was so immature and spiteful! Like, hell bent on getting revenge on The Beast, but then..ahh it all seemed like a loop.

Until next time, happy reading! Oh, and feel free to drop any ‘Beauty and the Beast’ retelling recommendations below!

Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Published in 2017

297 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

My Review:

This was definitely an unexpected pleasure of a book, I didn’t know what to expect but it was such an addictive read, I couldn’t put it down!

The writing was utterly lovely, it was so visual, I felt like I could clearly see everything that I was reading about, and feel Isobel’s emotions, and think her thoughts. Isobel was such a fabulous narrator, I loved her so much and definitely admired her throughout! She was so fierce and didn’t back down! Rook was such a great male lead character, and both he and Isobel had such amazing scenes together, and I adored Rook’s wit, which Imogen just gave him a fun for his money! The story was so unique, I had no idea what would come next, and the ending, the build up (as well) to the ending filled me with chills!

As well as being beautifully visual, the writing and the story, had everything you could ask for, there was mystery, intrigue, romance, suspense, comedy and a hell of a lot of shape shifting! It was pure fantastical magic! Definitely recommend to all!!

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in The Universe by Lauren James

Published in 2017

290 pages

4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone .

My Review:

This one definitely caught me unawares, I had it in my TBR for a good while, and then happened to stumble across it at Target unexpectedly, and so I grabbed a copy and quickly became more excited to read it. The cover instantly drew me in and when I started the book, I was instantly hooked, the writing was fast paced, the setting was so vividly captured, I felt like I was there with Romy, who I pretty much instantly adored. I longed to know what would happen next, and I honestly felt like this could’ve been a potential favourite. When ‘J’ entered the story, the intrigue was definitely raised and I was dying for the characters to meet! I love how Romy found solace in one of her favourite tv shows, whilst being alone in space, she was constantly tormented by her demons, whether it be her anxiety, paranoia or general feelings of not being wanted. J had his own angst, and I love how the characters e-mail communications really felt like the two were confiding in one another. And I wanted to know what would happen next!

And then, plot twist.

For me, it practically killed the vibe of J’s character, like really? I get why the author did it, but I felt like it made NO SENSE?! And it came out so suddenly, and I hated how it all made Romy feel. Way to play with all our emotions, I felt like J’s character was unnecessary, after what I read! The ending felt very muddled, but aside from that, I really loved this book!

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Published in 2015 by St Martin’s Press

517 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here – it’s their last year at Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every ‘chosen one’ who ever had more on their mind than saving the world.

My mini Review:

This book was such an unexpected pleasure! I absolutely loved Fangirl and Landline, but I didn’t know what to expect from Carry On! The result is one of my all time favourite stand alone books! And I’m lamenting that it’s a stand alone because I’d happily read ALL the books about Simon and Baz! This book was full of so many delightful feels and ALOT of angst, it was such an addictive read and my heart was constantly feeling! The fantasy element felt really natural, and the writing was fast paced, I was constantly kept guessing what would come next! It was full of a lot of twists and turns, some things I couldn’t have guessed, and it was amazing! I buddy read this with one of my closest friends, we analysed every chapter; and I can safely say it’s something we’d both recommend to all! The characters will long stay with me and I can see myself re visiting this world! I would love to read more with these characters, Baz and Simon have got to be two of the most precious characters out there! Definitely an outstanding book!

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

Published in 2016

250 pages

4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Mini Review:

This was such a beautiful story of friendship and love and slightly self discovery too, in my opinion! It was wonderful getting to read about these great characters and get swept up into their everyday lives, this book was full of angst and love, but it wasn’t over the top; the characters felt really natural and the writing was really fast paced! I was dying to know what would happen next and not to be too spoilery, but there was a delicious amount of lgbt relationships throughout the story; and I felt so proud for these people embracing their pride!

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading, Brooklyn 🙂

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published in 2013 by St Martin’s Press

459 pages

5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

I read this book last year and instantly became obsessed with everything about it! It was my first Rainbow Rowell book, and it instantly became a favourite! Cath is such a relatable character, if not the most relatable character ever! She and Wren, twin sisters, have such a unique bond, and I loved her quirky friendship with Reagan as it developed! It’s funny, as I read this, I found I was experiencing similar emotions to the first time I read it, I absolutely HATED Nick (I have reasons!) and I found the writing to be as fun and addictive as the first time! I feel like it’s still pretty rare to have a character that is a canon Fangirl (no pun intended), but it’s one of my favourite things to read about! And I have to acknowledge how clever Rowell is to take her own characters from her work and completely change it up. I loved the page breaks in between with Cath’s fanfiction! So unique and refreshing and fun.

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading 🙂

Brooklyn ~

Book Review: As Old as Time by Liz Braswell

Published in 2017

485 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns–a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.

But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind–images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

My Review:

Ahhhh oh my goodness what a fabulous reimagining of such a classic tale! This was honestly so perfect, I hardly know where to begin! It’s actually made me see all the characters in such a new way, and changed how I think about the classic story and all its characters!

Literally, there were a lot of twists and turns in this one that I didn’t see coming! It was brilliant! What the author did, how she twisted some characters and changed up their story arc from the original text, and the movie (I pictured the re make cast in their roles, I could see them saying their lines and performing the actions perfectly!) I definitely felt all the nostalgia for Mrs Potts and Chip! There was something that the author did, with Mrs Pott’s husband that I honestly did not see coming; and by golly it gave me ALL the chills! And honestly, the idea that it was Belle’s mother that cursed the Beast? Utter brilliance! This here actually provided a lot of awesome in the storytelling, it was told with multiple points of view, firstly from of course Belle, but then her father, Maurice! I loved learning about Belle’s parents, and honestly the book was just brilliant! It’s definitely become a fast favourite and I can’t wait to read the author’s other retellings! I’ll definitely read this one again too!

And that concludes my review, until next time, happy reading!

Brooklyn 🙂