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Kisses for Lula – Samantha Mackintosh

Title: Kisses for Lula
Author: Samantha Mackintosh
Published by: Electric Monkey

Publication date: 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Mystery; Romance; Chick Lit
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

7/10

Kisses for Lula

 

Lula Bird is gorgeous, funny and dreading her birthday because you can’t turn 16 if you’ve never been kissed…

So why does every boy in Hambledon run a mile the second she bats her eyelashes? The fact is, they fear for their lives. Rumour has it Lula’s been jinxed!

And it’s not as if that’s her only problem: Lula thinks she has a stalker, her dad keeps sneaking out at night with a lady’s handbag, and a mysterious theft is threatening to bring the town to its knees…

With only 5 days to go till her birthday, can Lula get the guy, solve the crime and jilt the jinx for good?

 

Although not initially my type of book, I surprisingly enjoyed the drama and mystery surrounding Lula and her family and peers. I found it humorous the amount of drama created by Lula not being kissed by the age of 16 (does this mean I’m jinxed?!?!) but the accompanying side story lines gave this book an added depth which I wasn’t expecting from a romance, chick lit genre of book. I have had very bad experiences with similar books to this one and found them very two-dimensional. This book was definitely the exception! I would definitely recommend it to teens!

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Violet Ink – Rebecca Westcott

Title: Violet Ink
Author: Rebecca Westcott
Published by: Puffin

Publication date: 2014
Pages: 365
Genres: Romance; Pregnancy; Junior Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

5/10

 

Violet Ink

 

Izzy is hoping for a mellow yellow year of happiness. But for her impulsive big sister, Alex, life is much more colourful. She always writes to Izzy in a violet pen, which suits her dramatic personality. When one of Alex’s letters delivers a bolt from the blue, Izzy fears the future will be less than rosy. Will Alex’s new boyfriend spoil their sisterly bond, or does every cloud really have a silver lining?

 

I don’t have a lot to say about this book to be honest; the main character, Izzy, is eleven/twelve years old so I think I was a bit old for the age group that it is aimed at which is why I’ve given it a 5/10. The story was O.K and there was nothing in particular wrong with the overall book, so I haven’t given it below a 5/10 because I didn’t feel it was fair on the author to give it a generally negative review just because I’m not within the age group it is aimed at.

By all means read this book, the story was good but it just wasn’t my type of book.

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Blink Once – Cylin Busby

Title: Blink Once
Author: Cylin Busby
Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication date: 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Young Adult; Suspense; Mystery; Romance; Medical
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

10/10

Blink Once

 

‘I’m your neighbour, Olivia. Don’t bother trying to talk…Just blink once for yes and twice for no.’

Lying in a hospital bed, unable to move, West meets the girl of his dreams. She is beautiful and mysterious, and she likes him too. But if no one else sees their love, is it real? West has to find the truth, for her sake. Even if she’s never coming back.

 

Oh. My. God. This book was perfection! I absolutely adored it from the first page, West’s quirky and cheeky personality shines through the words and when he meets Olivia and they begin to feel love for each other, it filled my heart with happiness. I almost forgot that both characters were trying to forge a romantic relationship in a hospital setting…which is probably never going to work. The plot twist when West has his surgery though broke my heart and made me feel so much sympathy for him.

I just have no negative words to describe this book, it was that good. Very rarely do I feel so strongly positive towards a book but Blink Once, though fairly short, was a very powerful and moving novel. Once I had finished it, I ached inside wanting to know more about West’s life and he copes without Olivia and copes in his ‘new’ life. I just wish there was a sequel for this book! Highly recommended!

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What’s a Girl Gotta Do – Holly Bourne

Title: What’s a Girl Gotta Do
Author: Holly Bourne
Published by: Usborne

Publication date: 2016
Pages: 419
Genres: Young Adult; Feminism; Realistic; Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

9/10

 

What's a Girl Gotta Do

 

How to start a Feminist Revolution:

  1. Call out anything that is unfair on one gender
  2. Don’t call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe)
  3. Always try to keep it funny
  4. Don’t let anything slide. Even when you start to break…

 

Holly Bourne is one of the only authors I have come across whose last book in a series is just as good as the first book. I have enjoyed every single book in the Spinster Club trilogy and am unable to wait for November to read the Spinster Club special. Lottie is such a powerful, strong character and whilst in the other two books she has come across as unbreakable, in What’s a Girl Gotta Do? The reader sees her more sensitive side and shows that when put under enough pressure from internet trolls that even the strongest characters can suffer emotionally.

This is a really empowering book, perhaps more so on the feminist front than the previous two books as it tackles in more detail exactly how much gender inequality there is all around and it isn’t until someone begins pointing out every act of sexism that your realise exactly how big the problem is, and I for one hadn’t realised how much sexism there was just walking down the street, or watching TV. This book has really opened my eyes and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

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How Hard Can Love Be? – Holly Bourne

Title: How Hard Can Love Be?
Author: Holly Bourne
Published by: Usborne

Publication date: 2016
Pages: 450
Genres: Young Adult; Mental Health; Realistic; Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

8/10

 

How hard can love be

 

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to America. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s Prom King Kyle, the serial heartbreaker. Can Amber really be falling for him? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

After ‘Am I normal yet?’ I knew that this book was going to be equally as amazing, and I was right! The second book in the Normal Series is just as good as the first. Although I could not identify with the main character as much in this book, a sign of a good author is that Holly Bourne still made me care about Amber and her predicament and relationship with her mum and Kyle. I was gripped from the very first page and couldn’t put it down. I’d definitely recommend this book!

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Web of Darkness – Bali Rai

Title: Web of Darkness
Author: Bali Rai
Published by: Corgi Books

Publication date: 2014
Pages: 426
Genres: Mystery; Detective; Thriller; Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Library Loan

10/10

 

Web of Darkness

 

Lily needs someone to confide in more than ever before as a spate of apparent suicides rocks her school – and her group of mates.

Benedict, her new online friend, is there for her. Lily finds herself opening up to him, telling him things she wouldn’t tell anybody else.

But who is Benedict really…?

 

Web of Darkness is a thrilling story about internet safety and whether or not you know who you’re talking to online. Lily believes her new online friend who says he’s from New York is a model because of his pictures posted on Facebook, however Benedict proves how easy it is to fake his identity by pretending to be Charlotte for another of Lily’s friend who then is driven to commit ‘suicide’. All of the suicides are later shown to be cleverly disguised murders.

This is a cleverly put together plot line which seems confusing to begin with however once all of the jigsaw pieces begin to stitch together it comes together for the big reveal right at the end of the book. I couldn’t fault it!

Amazon: Buy this book

Trouble – Non Pratt

Title: Trouble
Author: Non Pratt
Published by: Walker Books

Publication date: 2014
Pages: 381
Genres: Realistic; Romance; Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Library Loan

5/10

 

Trouble

 

Hannah is smart and funny. She’s also fifteen and pregnant.

Aaron is the new boy at school. He doesn’t want to attract attention.

So why does Aaron offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby?

Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.

 

This book began very slowly and I found myself getting bored with the characters and the storyline as I couldn’t see the point in the plot. However, around the half way mark, it began to pick up pace and I started developing emotional attachments to Hannah and Aaron, although I did feel that it ended all too abruptly with no real conclusion. I do think that Trouble is aimed at the lower end of the Young Adult spectrum though so I would recommend it to readers aged between 12 and 15.

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Poppet – Mo Hayder

Title: Poppet
Author: Mo Hayder
Published by: Bantam Press

Publication date: 2013
Pages: 378
Genres: Detective; Mystery; Crime; Thriller
Format: Hardback
Source: Library Loan

9/10

 

Poppet

 

The mentally ill patients in Amberly Secure Unit are highly suggestible. A hallucination can spread like a virus. When unexplained power cuts lead to a series of horrifying incidents, fear spreads from the inmates to the staff. Amidst the growing hysteria, AJ, a senior psychiatric nurse, is desperate to protect his charges.

Detective Inspector Jack Caffery is looking for the corpse of a missing woman. He knows all too well how it feels to fail to find a loved one’s body. When AJ seeks Caffery’s help in investigating the trouble at Amberly, each man must face bitter truth in his own life. Before staring pure evil in the eye.

 

Mo Hayder is one of my favourite authors for a few reasons, the main one being that she has the ability to keep me hooked and identifying with the characters right from the first page. Never once did I find myself bored and the short, snappy chapters meant that the pace was fast, exciting and thrilling. An hour after finishing this book, I can still feel excess adrenaline coursing through my veins.

‘Poppet’ takes you on a rollercoaster ride in the dark, with unexpected twists and turns in the plot which keep you gasping but eager to continue reading. I absolutely adored this book!

Amazon: Buy this book!

Only We Know – Simon Packham

Title: Only We Know
Author: Simon Packham
Published by: Piccadilly Press

Publication date: 2015
Pages: 230
Genres: Realistic; Mental Health; Gender Identity; Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

4/10

 

Only we know

 

Lauren’s family have just moved house, and a new home means a new school. Lauren is determined to take this opportunity to completely reinvent herself and she quickly makes friends and settles in to her new life. Everything’s going to plan until she runs into Harry, a boy she met four summers ago. Luckily for Lauren, Harry doesn’t seem to remember her, and she knows it has to stay that way.

Then, just when things are starting to go well again, creepy packages start appearing in Lauren’s locker with no explanation. Finally, she receives a disturbing, anonymous note: ‘Isn’t it time your new friends knew all about you?’

I had high expectations for this book however I found it a massive disappointment; the action and storyline only seemed to pick up speed in the last few chapters, whilst the vast majority of the novel seemed to drag on, talking in cryptic messages about this ‘secret’ that Lauren is hiding from her past, which turns out to be something that isn’t that big of a deal. I won’t say what that secret is because that would mean the entire worthwhile parts of the plot would be revealed. A very boring and disappointing read.

Amazon: Buy this book

Kingdom – Rachel Wollaston

Title: Kingdom
Author: Rachel Wollaston
Published by: Rachel E. Wollaston

Publication date: 2016
Pages: 309
Genres: Fantasy; Romance
Format: E-Book, Kindle
Source: Review Copy

10/10

 

Kingdom

 

Imaginations are just that: imaginations.

Or are they?

Pepper Fairfield is a high spirited young woman with an incredible imagination. When she accepts a job as a nanny at Calthorpe Manor, she finds that she has let herself in for a lot more than she expected. With mysterious disappearing doors, magical colour-changing bunnies and a couple of sassy sylphs, this house is nothing like what she’d anticipated. Is it haunted? Or is it something even more?

 

In a whirlwind of events, Pepper finds herself fighting against impossible odds, not only for her life, but for the safety of humankind. What this land needs is a hero, but how do you convince a hero who’s sure he’s anything but? If one thing is for certain, it’s that, in an existent world of non-existence, anything can happen . . .

 

Wow, is all I can say about this book. When I was offered the chance to review the debut novel of Rachel, I leapt at the chance, enthralled by the captivating synopsis I was provided with. However, when I began this book, I did not realise exactly how much I was going to be taken on a rollercoaster ride. From page 1, I was drawn into the plot and was unable to put the book down for a strong desire to know exactly what was going to happen next.

The characters are very well developed, particularly the characters of Pepper and Therron who are my favourite people in the novel. Pepper is a strong female character who has the perfect mix of selflessness, bravery and sensitivity towards others.

I very rarely give a book 10/10 but I could not fault Kingdom. It alternated between slower sections (which were still interesting) and fast paced action which left me on the edge of my seat, praying for the safety of the characters.

This is a very accomplished first novel and I highly recommend it! I look forward to reading more books by Rachel.

Amazon: Pre-order this book now (release date is 14th July 2016)