Thursday, 29 November 2012

From the Review Pile (30)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------
This week, I'm going to showcase Dance of Shadows!

This book is released in February next year, so although I'm desperate to read it, I'd like to read it closer to the release date. This book looks phenomenal and I love all of the publicity surrounding it, especially on the Dance of Shadows facebook page! I can't post this without mentioning the stunning cover either - isn't it gorgeous!?

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Hardback, 447 pages
Published 12th February 2013 by Bloomsbury

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . . 

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Josh, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era by Jessica Fellowes, Matthew Sturgis
Hardback,320 pages

Published November 2012 by Harper Collins

My shelves: adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, cover-appeal, historical, non-fiction, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, to-be-reviewed, ww1d
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

The official companion to all three seasons.

The Great War has ended, but Downton Abbey is far from peaceful…

A changing world has brought new challenges and new guests. Inside the walls of the Great House there is more intrigue, rivalry and romance than ever.

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey take you deep into the lives of the Crawleys, their servants, lovers, friends and guests. So wander the crowded servants' quarters and peek into luxurious bed chambers. Go beneath the surface, and experience every aspect of their lives – from daily routines, dressing tables and treasure chests to their most secret hopes and fears.

This lavish book explores the lives of every important member of the Downton estate. Focusing on each character individually, it examines their motivations, their actions and the inspirations behind them. An evocative source of story and background, it will take you even deeper into the secret, beating heart of the house.

My thanks go to Harper Collins for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I never really got into Downton Abbey until the latest series, but now I am an absolutely huge fan. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get into it, but thankfully this book has been released and so now I can read up on what I've missed!

When The Chronicles of Downton Abbey arrived, like any Downton fan, I was so excited to have a copy in my hands! After just a quick flick through, I already knew that I loved this book. I couldn't wait to have a better look at it. This is the 'official companion' to all three seasons and gives us an in-depth look at the main characters who inhabit the Downton estate. This book is not a story, but a 'chronicle' of fictional characters.

There are a lot of different characters explored in this book, from both upstairs in the lavish house and downstairs in the servants' quarters. The character description goes into great depth, it seems that nothing has been left out and through learning about one character, we also get to learn about others and of the general happenings of the estate. I'm sure that even if you haven't missed an episode, there is a whole lot more to learn about the much loved characters, yet it doesn't give too much away if you haven't seen the whole series yet. There are a lot of interesting historical facts added in to this, as expected, which adds even more realism to the Downton story. The characters' factual history and emotions are both explored well.

Alongside all of the fascinating information, this book is presented beautifully. The interesting facts are illustrated with images of on-set props and gorgeous photographs from the television series - to simply look at the pictures in this is a  real treat. You could easily revisit any section of this book again and again without getting bored.

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book! If you know anyone who likes Downton Abbey, do buy them this for Christmas - it truly is a perfect gift for any fan. If you are interested in this period of history, this may also be for you, or even if you just want to see what all the fuss is about - I doubt you will be disappointed!


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (29)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received some unexpected books for review this week! I love the look of Shadows, and can't wait to see what it's like. I also received Broken Illusions, Losing Agir and Gamer from their respective publishers. They're all very different and it's great to get some variation! I also received a copy of Escape From The Forbidden Planet from the wonderful author, Julie Anne Grasso.

You've probably guessed that I can't resist a half price book bargain and this week Seven Years to Sin was on offer, so I picked that one up too!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal


Struck By Lightning: The Carson Philips Journal by Chris Colfer
Paperback,272 pages

Expected Publication: 20th November 2012 by Atom

My shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, contemporary, lgbt-characters, movies-or-tv, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, to-be-reviewed, young-adult
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

A hilariously cynical look at high school from Chris Colfer, star of TV's Glee, and based on the feature film of the same name.

Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips who blackmails the most popular students into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.
At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck by Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school.

My thanks go to Atom for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, I'll openly admit it, I was very wary of reading this book, simply because it was written by someone from Glee and I really don't like Glee. However, I wanted a quick read so I picked this one up and gave it a go. I'll be honest and say that I'm glad I gave this book a chance - though it was pretty much what I expected, I wasn't disappointed.

Struck By Lightning is the journal of Carson Phillips, a high school senior who is determined to get into Northwestern and become a top editor. Carson is also a bit of an outcast at his school, meaning it's difficult for him to get any support in writing a literary magazine which is essential for his university application. As no one will willingly help him, Carson turns to blackmail in order to get other members of the school to write for his magazine.

Carson is a character who feels very real. Though he wasn't particularly nice at the start, I did understand where he was coming from a lot of the time and I think that a lot of people will be able to connect with him in some way - he did tend to say things that a lot of us probably secretly think to ourselves at some point. I don't know whether I liked or loathed Carson, my opinion upon him changed a lot throughout, though I am very glad that he did seem to grow as a person as he realised some of his naiveté in regards to other people. Initially, Carson was pretty self absorbed, intolerant and not very understanding of others - he just saw what people were like on the surface. The whole story is about Carson discovering more about himself and the others around him and it succeeds in doing that.

The rest of the characters in the story were complete clichés, but it actually didn't matter one bit - in fact, it just added more to the whole feeling of the book. Though  the book is generally quite humorous and easy to read, it does touch on some serious issues, such as alcohol abuse and dementia. I think that Colfer did a good job of interweaving these storylines in, not allowing them to completely bog down the book, but to add a some integrity to the book. I was quite impressed with how Colfer made the story seem realistic, inserting all sorts of elements from teenage life.

Overall, this was a fun enough book and for anyone who wants a fun, quick read, this is for you - it's amusing, authentic and easy to read. If you're a fan of Chris Colfer, I'm pretty sure this would make the book even better! 


Thursday, 22 November 2012

From the Review Pile (29)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

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This week, I'm going to showcase Dark Eyes!

I love the cover of this book - it's so different and appealing.
 I'm a little unsure of whether I like the sound of the plot or not, but it does sound like it could be a really great book!


Dark Eyes by WIlliam Richter
Paperback, 383 pages
Published 15th March 2012 by Razorbill

Wally was adopted from a Russian orphanage as a child and grew up in a wealthy New York City family. At fifteen, her obsessive need to rebel led her to life on the streets.

Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and she's just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She'll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko - her darkeyed father - finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally's mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wally's had her own killer training, and she's hungry for justice.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens, this debut thriller introduces our next big series heroine!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Oh Dear Silvia

Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French
Hardback, 352 pages

Published 25th October 2012 by Michael Joseph

My shelves:  abuse, adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, cultural, lgbt-characters, medical-conditions, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, to-read
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Who is in Coma Suite Number 5?

A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife?

All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.

Her past holds a dark and terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. And she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers.

Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again and again...

My thanks go to Michael Joseph for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dawn French is a person that almost everyone knows and a person who a lot of people love, simply for her ability to make you laugh. I've not read anything that has been written by her before, but I have wanted to. When I read the blurb for Oh Dear Silvia, I immediately picked it up and started reading.

I love the idea behind this book - The whole book takes place in Coma Suite 5, where Silvia, a friend, lover and mother lies in a coma. The story is told through several people - her ex-husband (Ed), her sister (Jo), her daughter (Cassie), her 'lover' (Cat), her housekeeper (Tia) and her nurse (Winnie). There isn't really a progressive plot as such, but this is more of a collection of memories, wishes and thoughts have about Silvia and how she has changed each narrator's life. I find books like this very intriguing, so I was interested in seeing what each person had to say.

Though there are quite a few narrators, they were all very distinctive and even if it didn't have their names at the beginning of each chapter, you'd know who they were. I was very impressed with the authenticity of each character, as they were all so very different, though you could still sense that some of the characters were connected (Ed and his daughter). I was also impressed with the depth of each character - the character building through the chats to Silvia in the suite was very well done. We get to see many different sides to the characters as they go through various emotional stages. Interaction between the conscious characters was also fantastic, particularly towards the end. I also enjoyed the use of dialect.

As expected, there were some hilarious comedy moments from French (I particularly liked the scene with the 'healing' animals - I was laughing out loud!), which balanced out the more serious backbone of the story. Though this is written by a comedienne, it does have quite a lot of serious issues brought up which added sincerity and seriousness to the writing, which I appreciated. 

To explain my rating of this book, although there was a lot of elements of this book which I enjoyed, it did take me a while to get into it. At first I was very unsure about the book. There were parts that held my attention and some parts I struggled with. At the beginning, I didn't enjoy the writing, particularly the way most of the words were underlined for emphasis.  I got used to it, then different dialects were brought in which, again, made me unsure. I did find Winnie's Jamaican dialect to be charming, though I was unsure about Tia. Tia is foreign and her children taught her to use lots of swearing and incorrect words when talking - sure, it was funny at the start, but I found it to be tiresome after a while and didn't like it. Our most serious character in the book is probably Ed, who I did enjoy reading about, but sometimes, in contrast with the other characters, felt a little dull.

Overall, I was impressed with Oh Dear Silvia, and though I was unsure of it at first, I was glad that I stayed with it as it improved from the midpoint onwards. I think that this book will appeal to a lot of readers, and I would certainly be willing to read more fictional novels by Dawn French.



Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stacking the Shelves & Showcase Sunday(28)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.



It has been another very Christmassy week for me in terms of books! I am very excited to start reading seasonal books, so I think I'll have to pick one up within the next week - It's not too early is it?! The four Christmas-themed reads that I was given to review were Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe, The Charm Bracelet, From Notting Hill to New York... Actually and Bad Angels. It may not be Christmas themed, but it certainly felt like Christmas day to me when this review arrived today -  The Chronicles of Downton Abbey (which I already love!).

 I've fancied picking up a copy of The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year for a while, and as it was half price this week, I just couldn't say no to buying it - so that was this weeks purchase!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

From the Review Pile (28)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------
This week, I'm going to showcase Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices - Manga edition)!

I only received this book a week ago but I'm a little confused about when to read it! Though I do own a copy of the regular text version of Clockwork Angel, I haven't read it yet - so I'm not sure whether I should read that before I try the manga or simply just dive straight into the manga version. I've never read a graphic novel before so it's going to be a new experience for me when I get around to it! 



Clockwork Angel (Manga) by Cassandra Clare and HyeKyung Baek
Paperback, 240 pages
Published 1st November  2012 by Orbit
 A manga-adaption to the prequel of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city's sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends - including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Diviners (The Diviners #1)


The Diviners by Libba Bray
Hardback, 592 pages

Published 18th September 2012 by Atom

My shelves: arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, ghosts, historical, horror, read, read-in-2012, really-good, series-or-companions, supernatural, young-adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
It's 1920s New York City. It's flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It's after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it's the opportunity to party like never before.

For Evie O'Neill, it's escape. She's never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she's shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she's always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.

But New York City isn't about just jazz babies and follies girls. It has a darker side. Young women are being murdered across the city. And these aren't crimes of passion. They're gruesome. They're planned. They bear a strange resemblance to an obscure group of tarot cards. And the New York City police can't solve them alone.

Evie wasn't just escaping the stifling life of Ohio, she was running from the knowledge of what she could do. She has a secret. A mysterious power that could help catch the killer - if he doesn't catch her first.


Buy this book:
My thanks go to Atom for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited when I heard about the Diviners, even though I haven't read any of Libba Bray's previous work. I have read several rave reviews for Bray's books, but just haven't gotten around to reading them. I knew that with the release of The Diviners, I would finally pick up some of her writing. I  decided to set this book as my Halloween read, and picked it up on the 31st of October. This was one of the best decisions I've made (bookwise, anyway!) - it was such a fantastic read for this time of year.

There were a couple of things about The Diviners that worried me - the historical setting, which is often hit or miss for me, and the sheer length of it! I never start a book without finishing it, so starting a 500+ page book is quite a big decision for me! I have to admit that I am now a fan of the 1920's setting and I no longer find thicker books so daunting! This book was just such a pleasure to read and I find it very difficult to fault it. The setting was fantastic - Bray did a sterling job of describing 1920's New York, the fashion, the phrases, the entertainment and the attitude - it all seemed very authentic and I became truly immersed in the culture - It's clear that Bray swotted up on the trends of the 20's and it really paid off. 

The story itself was really interesting. The story follows our protagonist, Evie O'Neill, as she moves to New York to stay with her uncle Will, who lives in a museum dedicated to the supernatural. Evie thinks she's going to have the time of her life in New York and she does, though perhaps not in the way she expects! Evie ends up helping her Uncle and his assistant investigate a series of gruesome murders. It sounds like a strange word to use alongside 'gruesome murders' but it was a refreshing plot to read - it felt original and this is certainly one of the more complex, well written young adult books that I've read. It did take a little while to get into the main 'element' of the book, no words were wasted, all building up an intrigue, an atmosphere and a sense of mystery. Though this is a lengthy book, I appreciated each page and I can honestly say that I was never even slightly bored - just sometimes a little creeped out!

I thought that Bray did an amazing job of making me feel uneasy whilst reading this book - I was never really scared whilst reading this, but an extremely eerie feeling definitely lingered whilst I read the whole thing. The murderer in this book, Naughty John, is powerful and ghastly. Though there are no overly detailed macabre scenes, Bray still manages to create this spine-tingling fear. I really appreciated her writing and ability to conjure up such feelings. I thought that the in-depth explorations of the murders and the discovery of the links between them was all very intriguing. 

Of course, the book would just flop if it wasn't for it's great characters too. There were a host of exciting characters in The Diviners and I loved learning more about all of them as the story unfolded. I can't say that I favoured a particular character as they were all so well formed and had such great, diverse personalities. I enjoyed the sub-plots that the other characters provided and will look forward to seeing these expanded even more in the next book(s).

Overall, this book impressed me a lot and I am now waiting quite impatiently for the next book in the series! I am so glad that I decided to give this one a go and I will be sure to pick up more of Libba Bray's writing in the future. Highly recommended!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (27)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.

 

Well, it has certainly been a good week for me in terms of review books!
I am a huge fan of seasonal books, so it was such a treat to receive five winter/Christmas themed reads, which I just can't wait to delve into - especially due to their gorgeous covers! The seasonal books that I recieved were The Holiday, Once Upon a Christmas, Angels at the Table, Snowfall at Willow Lake and A Sixpenny Christmas - it won't be long until I pick those up, I can assure you! I also received a copy of the raved about Oh Dear Silvia for review, as well as a new trilogy which includes Blue Angel, Fallen Angel and Naked Angel.


I made three purchases this week! I bought a copy of Destined to Feel as it was half price, a copy of Artichoke Hearts as I've been meaning to read it for ages and a copy of Two Weeks Notice because I can't resist a Rachel Caine book!

I hope you've all had a great week! 
  

Thursday, 8 November 2012

From the Review Pile (27)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------
This week, I'm going to showcase The Lost Christmas!

I only received this book a couple of weeks ago but I am desperate to read it!
I'm a sucker for a Christmas themed book, so I will be looking forward to delving into this one very soon indeed!


Lost Christmas by David Logan
Paperback, 289 pages
Published October 2011 (Republished 2012) by Quercus
When Goose's parents are killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve, his life changes utterly. Living with his increasingly senile Nan, his dog Mutt is the only thing keeping him sane. His only other friend is Frank, a former friend of his father. Frank's own life is falling apart and he has recruited Goose to help him carry out petty theft around the city. A year to the day since the accident that changed his life, Goose meets Anthony, a strange man who has forgotten who he is, but seems to know more about others than they know about themselves. When Mutt goes missing, Goose has no choice but to rely on Anthony to help find him. In an adventure that draws in Frank, who's lost his family, an old lady who's lost a precious bangle, an elderly doctor who's lost his wife and mother who's lost her daughter, Goose follows Anthony across Manchester. But at the centre of the mystery is Anthony himself: who is he, how does he know so much and can he help Goose and the others find what they're searching for?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Before I Die


Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Paperback, 345 pages

Published  October 2008 by Black Swan

My shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, death, desperate-to-read, favourites, medical-conditions, read, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, really-good, title-appeal, young-adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

Buy this book:


Before I Die is one of those books that I've wanted to read since I heard of it's existence. It was one of those books that I just knew I would love, that would be special to me. However, it's taken me years to pick up the book even though it's been sitting on my bookshelf. It may sound strange, but I always put off books that I really want to read, as you can only experience them for the first time once. I am so glad that reading this book lived up to, or perhaps even exceeded, my expectations.

This book tells the story of Tessa, a girl with terminal illness and a bucket list of things that she is determined to do, including having sex, taking drugs and breaking other laws, before she dies. Tessa is like a lot of teenagers, with the one difference being that she is terminally ill. Our main character is very thought provoking, super brave, sometimes a bit reckless, somewhat scared and a little confused. It is very easy to connect with Tessa as she is a very genuine character and one who I came to truly care for as the book progressed. As you can imagine, Tessa has a lot of mixed feelings about her illness and the end of her life and it is interesting to see how they changed as time went on. I have no idea how I'd react in Tessa's situation, but all I know is that Tessa's thoughts and emotions felt so real. 

A lot of relationships are explored in this book in a very touching way, all very impressive. Reading about Tessa's relationship with her close family was very poignant - I really loved her relationship with her brother which had the usual banter and fun of a brother/sister friendship with a serious issue behind it. Tessa's father found his daughter's illness understandably difficult and reacted much in the way as I probably would have in his situation - though he did try to keep strong, his sadness was very evident. I didn't find Tessa's mum to contribute to the book all that much, but perhaps that was because I couldn't relate to her family situation. I was a bit unsure about Tessa's best friend, Zoey. Although their friendship is written well, I am still not sure how I feel about Zoey as a character - Though I was glad she tried to get on with life and help Tessa do the same, I felt she lacked some sensitivity, however there is no doubt that, however dysfunctional their relationship was, Zoey and Tessa were firm friends. The other main relationship in this book was the romantic one between Tessa and Adam. I absolutely loved Adam's attitude and admired his devotion towards Tessa. With a book like this, it could've felt that a romance was just added as an extra, but this really added something to the book - something very special.

Jenny Downham has done an fantastic job of making this book feel real - all of the little added details and the strong, powerful emotions of each character had serious impact. The ending of this book is expectedly heart wrenching and I ended up in floods of tears, however, it felt right - it wrapped up well and though I knew what was coming, it hit me hard. I absolutely adored Downham's writing and look forward to seeing what else she can offer. I'd recommend this for both young adults and adults - it's a book I will be raving about for some time to come!

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