Review: Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims

Please Don't Tell

Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

The problem with mystery style books like this is that it's so hard to write a formulated review without putting out spoilers, and I like writing well formulated reviews.

Please Don't Tell was a super addictive mystery style book, it was dark and gritty and whilst a few of the big reveals were something that I had kind of predicted before the end, it didn't make it any less of a thrilling read. Joy and Grace were really interesting characters, I loved the before being narrated by Grace and the after by Joy, it makes it even more interesting to put the pieces together as both have their own views on everything. I had predicted the ending by about halfway through, but I still second-guessed myself throughout the whole thing.

This book took on so many issues and I really liked the way it did it. Tims didn't make a big deal out of anything but it was all there - the way there are really diverse characters dealing with a lot of stuff - it was so well done and just a testament to how well Tims writes.

Whilst I can't deny that this book did have some issues and it doesn't stand up to some of the better grittier books out there, I can't recommend this book enough to someone wanting something contemporary and dark. Definitely recommended for fans of All The Rage and similar books.

Overall Rating: B

Book released Mat 24th 2016 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken (Conqueror's Saga, #1)

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

Kiersten White is like one of my favorite authors ever, and when I saw that she was writing a story about a kick-ass princess in the Ottoman Empire I just knew that I would legitimately die if I did not get my hands on it.

Now, I hate to be the person with the unpopular opinion but I just didn't love this book. In short, I really liked Lada and Radu's character arcs, seeing them grow up from Lada being the older one with a reluctant caring for her brother to these two siblings, completely different in personality but both painfully loyal. I liked Mehmed as a character, though I generally didn't really acre about the romance or the little love triangle which arises, which is really my main problem with And I Darken. 

What I really enjoyed though was the way politics and war comes into this story, as well as the very accepting way White takes religion - she uses it as a way to further differentiate the siblings but it doesn't become a thing - you know, when authors use a thing (think PoC, LGBT, religion etc) to make a book more daring, this doesn't do that - this takes something that could become an issue and turns it into a non-issue, I totally respect that. There is also very gentle handling of homosexuality - it is never really spoken about, it's just there and I really enjoyed that.

The thing is, whilst the characters and the things they go through are great and I can't fault those bits, I just couldn't really care about the romance, and whilst White's writing is still as gorgeous as ever (if anything it's just taken up a notch in this book). I still felt like I was meh about a big part of the book, which I absolutely hate to admit because I wanted to love this book but instead it's just around the realms of enjoy.

I think most people will like this book, and I can't completely put my finger on why I didn't aside from the whole romance thing not connecting for me, so if you want an interesting book with politics, wars, sibling rivalries at the next level and writing which can only be described as amazeballs, please pick this up. Even I can admit that it is a good read.

Overall Rating: B

Book released July 7th by Corgi Children's
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

100 Days of Cake
There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

I am so sad.

I am sad because cake. Because this book promised cake and the result was like that time I forgot to put the eggs in the cake mix and they came out like tiny little biscuits that were absolutely unpalatable. This book was like that - it just didn't work for me.

The first thing that I have to say, and the only thing that saved this book from being a DNF was the fact that Molly's depression and anxiety issues as so well represented in this book and I am all for great portrayal of these soul crushing illnesses. I loved that Molly had a great friend and that Alex was always there for her despite the fact that she is really going through a bad time - I love great YA friends.

But the rest of the book just lost me - I was pretty meh about the whole FishTopia storyline, which didn't help, but there were some parts of the book which I just downright hated. Mainly, the parts regarding Molly and her counsellor, who she has a crush on and got drunk with and yeah... I definitely spent a whole lot of that just wanting to launch my kindle across the room at the wall because no, that is not something I am entirely comfortable reading.

 Overall, 100 Days of Cake just did not work for me, because I felt disconnected from the plot. the depression was portrayed well, but I felt that the whole thing with regards to Molly and her counsellor was very disturbing and really didn't serve the book well. i wouldn't personally recommend this book.

Overall Rating: D-

Book released May 17th by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Waiting on Wednesday - 20.7.16

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Anyway, here are my WOW picks, let me know what you think and link me to yours!

This week I picked two books, the first is a translated version of an awesome sounding book and the second just sounds amaaaaaazing!

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser 
January 3rd 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

The Book Jumper
Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger—someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.

 My thoughts:
This sounds so gorgeous and beautiful, it's a repub of a book originally released in German and it just sounds like something breathtaking.

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer 
April 11th 2017 by HarperTeen

Spindle Fire
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, Spindle Fire is an enthralling, wholly original re-imagining of a classic faerie story.

Half-sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood, a Faerie Queen who is preparing for war, a strange and enchanting dream realm—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

Spindle Fire is a tour de force fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae, and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

 My thoughts:
I love me anything fairytale-esque and this seems to tick that box so I am super excited for this one!

Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Wow, this was such a total shocker for me. I totally was not expecting to enjoy With Malice as much as I did, it was such a highly entertaining read which threw so many theories into the loop before throwing one of the best endings I've read in a long time at me. I absolutely couldn't believe the way that it ended and I loved it.

This is a book about Jill who has been in an accident in Italy and can't remember any of the accident or the weeks before it -  all she knows is that she crashed her car and her best friend, Simone, died in the accident. All she knows is that everyone thinks she killed Simone deliberately and the facts don't really help her case. You'd think this book would be full of flashbacks, but the image of what happened is created by conflicting interviews, news reports and blog posts, each with their own opinions. This is just as much about how the media can bend how a suspect is seen by the public as much as what really happens.

I did feel a bit detached from the actual crime because we never actual met Simone or Nico or Jill as she was before the accident, and this book really takes the cake on the whole unreliable narrators thing. I lived all of the theories thrown around, I genuinely had no idea how the book would end but it also didn't seem random or unplanned, it just worked for me, the whole book did, actually.

Overall Rating: B+

Book released June 7th by HMH Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith

Red Velvet Crush
Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.

Red Velvet Crush is a bit of a non-story really, because despite the fact that the blurb offers all this tour excitement and drama, not a whole lot happens in this book. The main point of this book is that it's about two bickering sisters who never really get their issues sorted, so there wasn't even any real resolution.

The main character, Teddy, is a songwriter who joins a band her brother is putting together with some guys and her sister and they go on a tour to get their name out there. During the trip, Teddy 'falls in love' with Ty, a brooding musician type, there wasn't a whole lot of chemistry there and all I saw was some kind of physical attraction and then the whole book plays on the 'bad boy musicians break your heart' trope. I didn't really care for Teddy and Ty as a couple.

The main point of this book is the tension between Teddy and her younger sister Billie. Billie is an attention hog, Teddy wants to sing her own songs but Billie wants the spotlight, mean words are said, Billie does some really stupid things and then the book ends without these issues really even being addressed. I did love the way Meredith was so honest about Teddy's feelings for Billie, the way she both cares for and ultimately resents her little sister. It was so candid and that was the best part of the book, but really I just wish it had really been dealt with.

Overall, red Velvet crush was a slow and at times downright boring read, it's okay for a quick pick up and some people might like it more than me, but if you're looking for books about music and bands I can recommend many that are far better than this. 

Overall Rating: D

Book released June 14th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Shelf Spotlight - 16.07.16

Shelf Spotlight is my weekly haul meme where I talk about all of the books that I have got this week in print and ebook format!
It's based on Stacking the Shelves hosted over at Tynga's Reviews.

Not a massive haul this week, which is good because I have some catching up to do!

Also, I celebrated my Six Year Blogoversary this week and I'm giving away prizes because why not. Check out the giveaway here!

Now without further ado:


Aftermath  Three Truths and a Lie


Holding Up the Universe

So there's my selection for the week, now show me yours!