Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books of 2015 #TTT

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Books Read This Year

It’s time for everybody’s favourite TTT of the year; our favourite reads of 2015… how to choose!

I actually found it quite easy this year, although I really wanted to do a top 13. The most difficult part was putting them in order. I’ve changed them around so many times, but my top 3 was always cemented!

So here goes, in descending order, naturally!

~10~

An English Ghost Story ~ Kim Newman

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“The Naremore family move into a grand old house in the countryside which was previously owned by a famous children’s author whose popular series of books were about a haunted boarding school. It turns out that these books were a lot less fictitious than anyone would have believed.

An English Ghost Story was exactly what I was looking for! It was a book which started with promise. I was absorbed from the beginning even before anything spooky happened and then it built up its suspense and creepiness in a masterful, almost majestic way.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: October 2014 // Read: October 2015

~9~

Behind Closed Doors ~ Elizabeth Haynes

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“Behind Closed Doors is another compelling, page-turning read from Police Analyst Elizabeth Haynes.

This is the third book I’ve read by Haynes and I’ve found them all to be edge-of-your-seat thrilling and interesting in the most excellent dark and gritty way. Behind Closed Doors was no exception.

Haynes is masterful at navigating the multi-layer plot about a girl who was abducted on a family holiday and has returned after 10 years, posing more questions than there are answers.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Jan 2015 // Read: October 2015

~8~

Frozen Charlotte ~ Alex Bell

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“This book actually gave me nightmares (well, it gave me one – it was pretty awesome).

For starters, creepy-ass miniture porcelain dolls with their hands outstretched like they died reaching for you. Dolls that are everywhere, even in the walls. Dolls that whisper. Dolls with needles… But more about them later…I’m getting ahead of myself.

And it wasn’t just the creep-factor that was good about this book, I literally could not put it down. I was sneakily reading it at work and stayed up wayyy past my bed time to finish it off!”

 

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Jan 2015 // Read: Jan 2015

~7~

Vengeance Road ~ Erin Bowman

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“Vengeance Road is a fast-paced, action-packed, tale of adventure and revenge in the shape of a good old-fashioned Western.

Plucky protagonist Kate thought her father was hung for the sake of it, but when she makes her way to Abe’s ranch, someone her father instructed her to seek out should anything happen to him, she discovers that she didn’t know him as well as she thought.

Hurrah for this is basically what I want to say! It’s not often you come across new and exciting strands of YA, and Vengeance Road was definitely that. Bowman weaves a thrilling, old fashioned yarn of an adventure and makes it look all shiny and new.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Sept 2015 //  Read: Sept 2015

~6~

The Kiss of Death ~ Marcus Sedgwick

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“I will read anything this man writes. FACT.

Marcus Sedgwick takes folklore and fairy tales and turns them into Gothic beauty. My Swordhand is Singing was the first Sedgwick book I ever read, and it remains my favourite. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up the sequel.

The Kiss of Death is a story centred around Marko whose father is missing. Last known to have headed to Venice to see a patient- for he is a doctor- Marko heads off in search of him, against his mother’s best wishes.

The Kiss of Death is a lyrical, beautifully written book, such as I have come to expect from Sedgwick. I was so happy to be reunited with Peter, and hear more of his tragic, heroic, story.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Sept 2008 // Read: Oct 2015

~5~

Red Queen ~ Victoria Aveyard

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“OMG THIS BOOK!

In Victoria Aveyard’s take on a dystopian future, there are two classes. The Redbloods, the lowly commoners who do all the physical and menial jobs, and are conscripted to fight in the war, and the Silverbloods, the ruling class, who all have different powers such as the ability to manipulate fire, water or metal – much like the X-MEN (which I LOVE).

I’d gone through a whole array of feelings about this book before I even picked it up. Firstly, from the cover alone I was so taken with it I couldn’t wait to read it. Then I started seeing it described as The Hunger Games meets The Selection via X-men, and my mind was blown. BLOWN.

But then, the hype just went a bit mad. It was all over the blogosphere and while I tired to avoid most of the reviews, I started to doubt my first thoughts and wondered if this was just another Hunger Games wannabe; all hype and no substance….

Thankfully, I was wrong. Red Queen, whilst having some flaws, ended up completely surpassing my expectations. And it made me want to throw it across the room (yet another downside to the e-book!), in the best possible way.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Feb 2015 // Read: Jan 2015

~4~

Winter ~ Marissa Meyer

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“OMG I cannot tell you how happy I felt reading this, and having all the amazing characters from the previous books finally brought together to defeat the evil Queen Levana! Insert fangirl squeal here.

Winter was everything I hoped for and more. Cinder kicked-ass, Scarlet was sassy and hilarious, Cress was adorably cute and Princess Winter…oh how I love her crazy ways.

And don’t even get me started on the guys. I mean, how are supposed to choose between Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and Wolf..? I just can’t even!”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Nov 2015 // Read: Nov 2015

~3~

Darkest part of the Forest ~ Holly Black

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“YES! This is what I’ve been waiting for by Holly Black.

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a fairy book with bite. It reads like a deliciously dark classic fairy tale, but it’s thoroughly modern too.

In the small town of Fairfold, humans go about their days like any average community, but there’s just one difference, faeries also exist. On the whole, faeries have come to be accepted and their magic is seen as harmless. However, many people in Fairfold continue to abide by certain rules and superstitions in order to make them immune to their magic, making you raise an eyebrow as to whether they are as harmless as everyone thinks they are.

I was blown away by how Holly Black built this world of fae but made it so modern. I loved that Hazel was a Knight. I loved that the kids of Fairfold seemed so normal despite living amongst faeries. I mean, they get wasted  and dance around (and on top) of the the horned boy’s coffin… so much to love.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: Jan 2015 // Read: Jan 2015

~2~

The Quality of Silence ~ Rosamund Lupton

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“The Quality of Silence is an assault on your senses. You can feel the snow, smell the petrol, and see harsh landscape of Alaska so vividly, it’ll have you grabbing for your fur-lined coat, such is the magic of Lupton’s writing.

Yasmin, who loves her husband yet feels estranged from him, came to Alaska to try to make their marriage work one last time. After hearing the news [of his death] she refuses to believe [it]. She will believe it only when she sees it, but the police refuse to help, and have stopped the search, adamant that no one could have survived.

And so Yasmin and Ruby, set off on the most dangerous road trip imaginable, to find Daddy, to find the husband, to keep hope alive.

This book BLEW ME AWAY. I know people say that all the time, but woah…it was just amazing.

I loved the setting, the characters – especially Ruby – who is AMAZING, and the slow, mysterious reveal of what happened to Ruby’s dad…it was all amazing.”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: July 2015 // Read: April 2015

~1~

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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“Oh this book, you guys.

I fell in love with it instantly and read it in two sittings. The story is set in El Paso, Texas, and narrated by Ari. Ari’s a loner and more troubled than he even lets himself acknowledge. He’s clever and funny, but he’s angry too. He’s angry that his dad won’t talk about the war that has affected him so badly. He’s a angry that his brother is in prison and that his family won’t tell him why. In fact they pretend he doesn’t exist at all.

Ari meets Dante, who offers to teach him how to swim. On paper they are complete opposites. Dante is effervescent and loved by everyone who meets him. He finds it easy to open up to people and talk about his feelings; everything Ari isn’t, and can’t do.

The two become inseparable during one summer, and together they try to make sense of the world.

I’m reluctant to say much more plot-wise but just know this: Aristotle and Dante is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching coming-of-age story that I know will stay with me for a long time. I’ll definitely be reading this again in the future.

I love the setting, I loved the relationship between Ari and his mum, and obviously the relationship between Ari and Dante…I just can’t even… have ALL THE UNICORNS. I need to get my hands on Alire Sáenz’s other books STAT!”

Full Review // Goodreads // Purchase

Released: April 2014 // Read: March 2015

Just missed out:

 

Rebel Belle ~ Rachel Hawkins

The Heir ~ Kiera Cass

Golden Boy ~ Abigail Tarttelin

So there you have it, my favourite reads from 2015. I’m actually surprised that most of them are 2015 releases, as I felt like I was so behind with reading new releases this year! I’m impressed with myself LOL. 

Can’t wait to see what made everyone else’s lists, even though I know it’ll kill me TBR-list-wise. Oh well. BRING IT ON!

 

2015 ‘Horror Tag’ Book Reviews (so far) #HorrorOctober

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You know guys, Horror is not just for October, so I thought I would post all the reviews I’ve written so far this year that I included in the ‘Horror’ tag. I kind of thought I’d need to do it in at least two parts but on further inspection I realised just how few horror books I actually read this year (excluding my Horror October picks). Shame on me!

Anyway, as we slide head first into the final few days of October, here are the horror books I’ve reviewed so far this year.

Get Ready to Shudder: Frozen Charlotte

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Author: Alex Bell
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 368 pages
Publication Details: January 5th 2015 by Stripes Publishing
Genre(s): Horror; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

We’re waiting for you to come and play….Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

Review

This book actually gave me nightmares (well, it gave me one – it was pretty awesome).

For starters, creepy-ass miniture porcelain dolls with their hands outstretched like they died reaching for you. Dolls that are everywhere, even in the walls. Dolls that whisper. Dolls with needles… But more about them later…I’m getting ahead of myself.

For the purpose of context, I’m a huge horror fan, especially as far as films are concerned, and I’m constantly disappointed that I never find any of them scary any more. I must be desensitised or something. To a certain extent, it’s the same for books, but I do find it easier to get creeped out by a good horror book than a film…and oh my, this book creeped me the hell out, so major props for that!

And it wasn’t just the creep-factor that was good about this book, I literally could not put it down. I was sneakily reading it at work and stayed up wayyy past my bed time to finish it off!

Frozen Charlotte is centred around Sophie and the events which follow her best friend Jay’s sudden death (it’s right at the beginning so hardly a spoiler). Jay downloaded a Ouiji Board app on his phone and he and Sophie play around with it, mocking it, like you do. But when Sophie calls on the only person she knows who has passed away – her cousin Rebecca – things go a bit weird to say the least.

To cut a long (not that long to be fair) story short, the app tells Jay he will die that very night…and of course, he actually does. Cue devastated Sophie trying to make sense of it all through the grief. And what better place to go than to an old converted schoolhouse on the blustering and foggy Isle of Skye.

It is her Uncle James’ home, and the whole family are clearly still suffering the loss of Rebecca. Everything about the place is wrong. From a parrot called Dark Tom who literally screams bloody murder all night long and young Lilias who has a phobia of bones (even her own), who once tried to cut out her collar bone, to Cameron, the musical protégé who got burned during the death of his sister and has never been the same again, and Piper who is trying to hold the whole thing together but is strangely obsessed with the Frozen Charlotte dolls.

I really wish I’d read this book for Horror October instead of Doll Bones. This was exactly the thing I was looking for. It was so good, and so creepy, at one point I had to put it down because I was shuddering so much internally. I couldn’t keep away for long though, I HAD to find out what the hell was going on!

The only tiny grumble I had with it, was that I couldn’t decide how old the characters were. It seemed inconsistent a lot of the time. Sometimes they seemed older than they should be, and then I’d get thrown by talk of first kisses and such, and visa versa. In the same way I couldn’t decide if Frozen Charlotte was aimed at the YA market or just had young characters. But you know what, who cares! It was great!

unicorn rating 4

Originally posted 26/01/2015

The Girl With all the Gifts

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Author: M.R Carey
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 460 pages
Publication Details: June 19th 2014 by Orbit
Genre(s): Horror; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from Dora. Thanks Dora!

Goodreads // Purchase

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

Review

***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***

The Girl with all the Gifts has everything. It’s a great mixture of classic horror, modern dystopia and fast-paced thriller.

I was worried that I’d ruined my experience of it having already read reviews and knowing what the ‘twist’ was, but I don’t think it hindered it at all. Plus, said twist is revealed pretty early on, so it’s not such a huge spoiler.

I was completely engrossed in Melanie’s story, and thought she was a great protagonist. In the beginning I felt sorry for her, being locked up, and the way her and the other children were treated. I think M.R Carey did a great job of bringing Melanie to life as a regular (albeit genius) child, and gradually revealing to the reader, and to Melanie herself that she is in fact a monster – a zombie to be exact.

The use of the school-room setting, Melanie’s genius-like intelligence and her love of stories enables the reader to see her as child first, and a zombie second, making it almost impossible not to root for her the whole way through.

I thought the relationship between her and teacher was kind of creepy at first, as I’m sure was supposed to be point, but they ended up being a great duo.

There were a few moments when I found myself losing interest, but I was quickly pulled back into this action-packed, rollercoaster of a ride. It’s one of the better zombie books I’ve read, and felt fresh and thought-provoking.

Having just started working in a prison, I read this book on another level too. The Girl With all the Gifts raised a lot of questions about imprisonment and human rights. I felt like it proposed many questions about incarceration, rehabilitation, having the mental strength to fight against your inner nature, and being able to embrace your future and let go of the past.

It was a really surprising read, one that I think would make a great book club selection.

unicorn rating 4

Originally posted 11/05/2015

Twisted Dark, Volume 1

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Author: Neil Gibson
Series: Twisted Dark #1
Edition: Digital, 196 pages
Publication Details: April 24th 2012 by T Publications
Genre(s): Graphic Novel; Horror
Disclosure? I downloaded a copy for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads // Purchase

The first volume in Neil Gibson’s acclaimed series of twisted tales contains 12 individual and unique stories which are all related. The stories vary from 10 year old girls to Colombian drug lords and everything in between. It is left to the reader to find the connections between the stories – some connections are immediately clear whilst other connection only become clear in later volumes. This series is designed for re-reading. The author describes the genre as psychological thriller, but the books contains horror, dark (at times demented) stories incorporating every human emotion, illegal activity, and brutal reality. Using various illustrators allows each story and character to develop their own form. Twisted Dark has been embraced by the comic book world receiving critical acclaim and a cult following. If you haven’t read one yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Review


Oh what can I say about this one!?

I was really intrigued by the idea of this as I’m a horror fan and enjoy some pretty twisted shiz on occassion. LOL. But I just wasn’t feeling it unfortunately.

Twisted Dark contains short stories which all have a dark, twisted reveal at the end, and link together in some way. I thought this was a great idea, and liked the look of the artwork, but it didn’t quite pull it off for me.

I think my main problem with it was that it was trying too hard to be shocking, but it just wasn’t. I think maybe I’m just not the target audience. I can imagine that had I read this when I was 15 and all ‘I hate the world, and everyone in it’ then I would have probably loved it. But, without being in that frame of mind, this just seemed a little…lame.

It also didn’t help that the digital version I had wasn’t great quality and the illustrations were a bit blurry, and the text was quite hard to read sometimes. I tried to look past this, and maybe I would have liked it a little better if the artwork was more appealing, but I still doubt I would have loved it.

I’m glad I gave it a go though, and would recommend it to a younger audience who have more patience than me and will reread it to find all the hidden connections – something I just couldn’t be bothered to do I’m afraid.

unicorn rating 2

Originally posted 23/05/2015

The Curse of Crow Hollow

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Author: Billy Coffey
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 414 pages
Publication Details: August 4th 2015 by Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse.

Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

Review

I finished this book last week and I’m still not quite sure what I think about it. What I am sure about though, is that Billy Coffey is a talented writer.

Crow Hollow is a small southern town with a secretive, tumultuous past. When a group of teenagers celebrate a birthday in the mountain’s mines, they disturb the equilibrium between the town and the resident weirdo, old Alvaretta Graves.

The younger generation in Crow Hollow grew up swapping fanciful stories about Alvaretta ‘the witch’, but most of them think it’s just small-town superstition… little do they know that their parents know a lot more about the mysterious Alvaretta than they could ever imagine.

I can’t even go into what I liked and disliked about this book without first saying just how much Coffey’s style reminded me of Stephen King. It was uncanny, and actually really distracting because that’s all I could think about the whole way through!

The Curse of Crow Hollow is narrated by a local who is introducing an out-of-towner to Crow Hollow and the events that recently occurred – it was very Needful Things, but worked well.

I loved how a very simple plot of ‘teens partying goes wrong’ becomes something much more complex. There’s superstition, politics, secrets and confessions, and Coffey brings it all together with some great scary moments and well executed spooky atmosphere throughout.

I also really liked the mystery surrounding the parents and what they ‘did’ to Alvaretta in the past. It was interesting to see their reactions when you find out that their children are basically being punished (in some pretty horrible ways) for something they did – it reminded me of A Nightmare on Elm Street a little bit.

The other King-esque trait was the abundance of characters, but unfortunately this is what let it down for me. I didn’t feel the vast amount of characters were developed enough, and I never really cared about any of them individually, which considering what happens to them, is pretty bad, and my interest really waned because of that.

Despite not loving the characterisation (or the whole Christianity thang going on), I really enjoyed Coffey’s style. It made for a really intriguing, atmospheric read, and I’d certainly like to see more from him.

unicorn rating 3

Originally posted 10/08/2015

Beneath the Lake

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Author: Christopher Ransom
Series: N/A
Edition: Kindle, 449 pages
Publication Details: September 10th 2015 by Sphere
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Thirty Years Ago: On a camping trip by a remote lake, the Mercer family enjoyed the vacation of a lifetime – until a violent tragedy forced them to make a decision that would haunt them for ever.

This Summer: When the younger Mercers learn their father is dying, the family reunites at the lake, seeking a second chance to put their lives back together. But something is waiting . . .
Four Days of Hell: Also arriving at the lake are estranged son Raymond Mercer and an alluring stranger, Megan, both ignorant of the family’s secrets. Within hours, they are all trapped in a relentless nightmare and fighting for their lives. Some places are better left. Some secrets are better forgotten. Some people are better dead.

Review

Oh, I wanted to like this so much…but it was a bit of a let down. I really liked Ransom’s debut The Birthing House, but I’ve tried a few of his other books and they haven’t had the same impact on me…(that was one creep-ass read). Unfortunately, Beneath the Lake was a similar story for me.

It started off so well! The opening was full of unexplained, extremely bizarre happenings which urged me to read on. Then we are catapulted 30 years ahead without knowing what actually happened that day at the lake- but knowing it was something terrible- and now the estranged Mercer family are planning a reunion there.

It all sounds good right? Well, it was for a while, but intrigue turned to boredom somewhere in the middle and I found it a struggle to get to the end. It just fizzled out for me I’m afraid.

I thought this had an interesting plot, but it peaked too soon, giving way to bad pacing. It did succeed in keeping me guessing for a while, and I did detect a constant uneasiness, but it just wasn’t enough to keep me hooked.

unicorn rating 2

Originally posted 15/09/2015

This Week in Books 25.02.15

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Welcome to my Wednesday post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.

I’ve been a bit AWOL lately, sorry about that. But real life has been a bit crazy and I literally didn’t get longer than 30 mins all week to pick up a book, never mind do any blogging. But hopefully all that will change soon as…wait for it… I finally GOT A JOB!! I’m not going to announce what it is yet, as I haven’t had the paperwork through and it depends on some security checks, but what I can tell you is that IT INVOLVES BOOKS. Eeeeeeeek…finally!

Anyway, back to this week. I’ve cut this one short as my blogging activity has been so limited. Hopefully normality will resume next week.

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Now: The Ghosts of Heaven ~ Marcus Sedgwick //The Martian ~ Andy Weir

It’s been slow-going on The Ghosts of Heaven because of time constraints, not because of the book. I wasn’t entirely sure about it at first, but I’m half way through now and loving it!

The Martian is one I’ve heard so many good things about so I have high hopes. Early days so far, but it’s compelling already.

Then: When Mystical Creatures Attack ~ Kathleen Founds

I had to give up on this one. I kind of appreciated the ambition of it, but I just didn’t get it. It probably didn’t help that I had no reading time so felt like I had to be more selective than usual. I’ll still try to do a mini review of this soon as it was a Netgalley approval.

Next: ???

Same as my last post I’m afraid: As always, I’m not sure. There are lots of options; Heir of Fire, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and The Girl with all The Gifts are at the top of the pile at the mo.

I hope you guys did better than me this week?

Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

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Title: Me & Mr. J
Author: Rachel McIntyre
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC
Publication Details: March 5th 2015 by Electric Monkey
Genre(s): Contemporary YA; Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There’s just one problem – he’s her teacher. Lara’s life has changed radically since her father lost his job. As the eldest, Lara tries to keep upbeat, and the one outlet for all her problems is her diary where she can be open about how dire everything is at home, and worse, the fact that she’s being horrifically bullied at school.

And then a shining light comes out of the darkness – the new young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. The one person who cannot reciprocate her feelings … can he?

Review

This book confirms my suspicions that I’m just kinda over Contemporary YA. I don’t mean that to sound harsh on the book itself, it’s a perfectly good book, written well, but I’ve just had enough of traumatic school-days stories.

There would have been a time when I’d have lapped Me & Mr J up. It’s the story of Lara “titless” Titliss as she navigates her way through her final year of high school. She is bullied quite horribly and as the book goes on, the more horrific the bullying gets. The only person who makes school bearable for Lara is the new English Teacher, Mr Jagger.

Me and Mr. J is written in ‘diary entry’ style which is great in sense that we get to see Lara’s amazing ability to shrug off and rise above everything the bullies throw at her. But the downside for me was that the language was way too cringe-worthy at times. Don’t get me wrong, it was believable and represents how teenagers talk and think but that doesn’t make it any less annoying to read. There was a lot of eye-rolling and sighing from me.

Oh, Mr J. My life would be a desert of complete unbearability without you as my metaphorical oasis/ watering hole”

My heart was saying, Mr Jagger, you are the only decent thing in my life. I can’t stop thinking about you. If I didn’t have you, I’d probably kill myself”

I thought this book was going be about a sordid affair between a teacher and student but I found it mainly to be about bullying, and discovering who you are – which I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy – I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

I did enjoy seeing how the relationship between Lara and Mr J eventually developed, despite the obvious repercussions. I also thought Lara was a strong character who could certainly inspire teens who have had problems with bullying, regardless of her mistakes, but I was hoping for something more.

unicorn rating 2

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

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Title: Mr. Miracle
Author: Debie Macomber
Series: Angelic Intervention #10
Edition: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: November 20th 2014 by Cornerstone
Genre(s): Romance; Christmas/Holiday
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review. Many thanks to Cornerstone.

Goodreads
Purchase

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help Addie Folsom to get her life back on track – and help her find love.

Creating a happy ending for Addie and her neighbour Erich doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. But soon after arriving in the town of Tacoma, Harry realises he might need some guidance. Addie and Erich can’t stand each other; growing up he was popular and outgoing, while she was rebellious and headstrong. Addie would now rather avoid Erich entirely, especially at Christmas.

Harry is going to need all the help he can get, and a bit of divine inspiration, to help Addie and Erich find their Christmas miracle.

Review

I was well and truly into my festive reads when I started on Mr. Miracle, and after reading and loving Starry Night by the same author the year before, I was looking forward to this one immensely.

I wasn’t aware that this (and a lot) of Macomber’s books are about angels, which isn’t my favourite theme, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Mr. Miracle introduces us to Harry, an angel who is sent to earth on his first ever assignment: Addie Folsom. Harry’s ‘cover’ is that he’s a teacher and his subject, Addie, has just returned home after a failed career start to finish school which she skipped out on a few years previous.

Of course, Addie is in need of some guidance – hence the angelic intervention of Harry. She’s a bit lost. Her father died recently, her career never took off like she thought it would, she’s been pretty unlucky in love, and so she finds herself with very little to show for herself. With a heavy heart, Addie has to swallow her pride and move home.

Addie knows that the first Christmas without her father is going to be hard on her and her mother, but she’s glad they will be together….however, her mum has a different idea entirely and has booked a cruise with her neighbour in order to avoid Christmas altogether.

There’s just one problem. The neighbour’s son who happens to be a childhood enemy of Addie’s has been in an accident and can’t fend for himself. Will Addie step in and care for her school-day’s foe? Will she change he mind about him?

I’m sad to say that I was quite disappointed in this book. The story was very simple and predictable, but a lot of books in this genre are and I still end up getting sucked into the romance and silliness of them, but this one just didn’t win me over.

Addie’s initial hatred for Erich just seemed to disappear in a poof of smoke, and I didn’t find it heart-warming or very festive at all.

Some of the characters were interesting, such as the motley crew in Addie’s class, but they didn’t get enough page-space.

Maybe it’s because I enjoyed my previous festive reads so much that this one paled in comparison; I’m afraid I found it all a bit contrived.

Better luck next time, I guess!

unicorn rating 2

Mr. Miracle and other Debbie Macomber books are available in paperback from Waterstones now.