Tuesday 29 August 2017

A Review: Emery Lord's The Start of Me and You

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Today I'm reviewing the third book I've read by Emery Lord. If you've been reading for a while, you may know I wasn't too big of a fan of When We Collided, and then The Names They Gave Us was one of my favourite books I have ever read, so I really didn't know what to expect from The Star of Me and You. Luckily, it was another beautiful 5-star read.

"I was the Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned."

This is the story of Paige, whose first ever boyfriend dies in a swimming accident, and, a year later, she begins to start the impossibly difficult task of living her life again. Paige writes a list of "normal" things she can do to get back on track, including: date someone new, go to parties, join a club, travel somewhere and swim - something she has been petrified of ever since losing Aaron. I thought Paige was a lovely protagonist to read - she was very believable and sympathetic in her darker moments but also had my two favourite qualities in female (or male) protagonists (and also, real-life human beings): she was funny and she was smart. I was rooting for her from the first page to the last.

"I was too tired, too sad, too much of everything."

It's also worth noting that the strength of female characters, and female friendships, in this novel was so, so uplifting and joyful to read. Paige's best friends, Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh, were all unique, funny, kind characters. I loved how they all had their quirks and hobbies (Tessa's music, Morgan's feisty feminism and simultaneous role as the hopeless romantic etc etc). They were wonderful friends  to one another, rallying round when one needed support, with realistic tiffs and disagreements. Tessa in particular was a character that really surprised and pleased me - I always cringe and tense up when I read about the beautiful blonde best friend who everybody adores (it's a cliche, right?) but Tessa defied her stereotype at every turn, being every bit the feisty, independent female and never once wavering in her immense support of Paige. I was also SO happy to see her get her own happy ending, through the emails at the end of the novel. A great example of a healthy, supportive best-friendship.

"Because with true friends, no one is keeping score."

Ryan was another figure of friendship who really surprised me as a character. He too had all the makings of a cliche, being the handsome, popular guy who everybody loves; yet he was seriously heartbroken about his break-up, kind and supportive of Paige, smart, funny, a great, accepting friend to Max (his birthday party surprise was ADORABLE) and a wonderful brother (see the supermarket scene and try not to weep too much).

"Love extra, even if it means you get hurt extra, too."

Max is our romantic interest. He was a joyous character to read; unashamedly intelligent, courageous, sweet and very, very funny. I loved how he and Paige would just sit for hours in the bookshop, reading, in each other's silent company - sounds dreamy to me. I thought it was really interesting to see how he challenged Paige, to be braver and to push herself. That moment when she realised he had seen her list (complete with Ryan's initials on the dating bullet point) killed me - poor Max! One of my favourite moments of the entire book was Paige finding the Pride & Prejudice card during the school project and seeing what Max had written to her on it (see in the quote below).

"I think I've loved you since that first day."

The emails that finish the novel off were pure genius, allowing us to discover lots of wonderful little moments that Paige and Max enjoyed over their summer apart, as they share them with another. You also got to keep up, that way, with the likes of Ryan and Tessa at home, and watch as Paige in particular grew into herself and found her footing in the world. It was wonderful to see her be so brave and independent in New York City. Also, the emails were not only utterly ADORABLE, but just so hilariously funny.

"Max was the first bite of a grilled cheese on a  snowy day, the easy fit of my favourite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist."

Finally, I want to mention, as I briefly did in reference to Max, how much I loved the unashamed heralding of being a GEEK. The nerd-factor was high, and I bloody loved it. The quiz competitions allowed a range of different teenage characters, who weren't necessarily all defined simply by their intelligence, to show off their knowledge and I LOVE THAT. I wish more YA books showed intelligence (and being a bookworm, in particular!) as a positive, cool thing, because it totally is! The conversations and rather heated debates that Max and Paige had about books were just brilliant. I want more YA books about books and reading.

So, that's it! I am eagerly awaiting another Emery Lord book, ASAP, please! Have you read this book, and, if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

"Like you had been drowning, and the book was air."

Till next time


Wednesday 23 August 2017

A Haul: Adult Fiction Thrillers

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Last week, I went on a little shopping spree on the World of Books website and ended up picking up all thrillers, none of which were YA and I thought it would be nice to show them here for the sake of a little variety. Obviously these books are going to sound a little darker than those that I regularly haul/review, but I do occasionally like darker projects. 
Worth noting, the two Lucy Clarke novels named Last Seen and A Single Breath, I bought after reading The Blue and rating it five stars! Last Seen was from a supermarket for about £3-4 and A Single Breath another online retailer for around £3.

Sabine durrant’s lie with me

A few little lies never hurt anyone. Right? Wrong. Paul has a plan. He has a vision of a better future, and he's going to make it happen. If it means hiding or exaggerating a few things here and there, no harm done. But when he charms his way on to a family holiday...And finds himself trapped among tensions and emotions he doesn't understand...By the time he starts to realise that however painful the truth is, it's the lies that cause the real damage...Well, by then, it might just be too late.

Julia heaberlin’s black-eyed susans

Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a 'Black-Eyed Susan' by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars - or so she thought. Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa's bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison. Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter's safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it's too late? 

Lucy clarke’s the sea sisters

Katie's carefully structured world is shattered by the news that her headstrong younger sister, Mia, has been found dead in Bali - and the police claim it was suicide. With only the entries of Mia's travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister's life, and - page by page, country by country - begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death. What she discovers changes everything. But will her search for the truth push their sisterly bond - and Katie - to breaking point?

Lucy clarke’s the blue

With a quick spin of the globe, Kitty and Lana escape their grey reality and journey to the Philippines. There they discover The Blue - a beautiful yacht, with a wandering crew.They spend day after languorous day exploring the pristine white beaches and swimming beneath the stars, and Lanadrifts further away from the long-buried secrets of home.But the tide turns when death creeps quietly on deck.A dangerous swell of mistrust and lies threatens to bring the crew's adventures to an end - but some won't let paradise go...whatever the price.
[I have already read this, as I mentioned, and gave it five stars. It was one of the best thrillers I have read in ages - the twists and turns definitely kept me guessing but there was also opportunity for emotional engagement and connection with characters. You should definitely pick this book up!]

Helen fitzgerald’s viral

"So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety-six people have seen me online." Su has always been the successful sister. It's Leah who is wild and often angry. But when they go to Magaluf to celebrate their exam results, Su disappears. Su is on the run, humiliated and afraid. There's an online video of her performing multiple sex acts in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it. Their mother Ruth, a prominent court judge, is furious. Can she bring justice to the men who took advantage of her daughter, and what will it take to bring Su home? 

lucy clarke’s last seen

Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea - and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever. Sarah's son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah's search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows - and she's right to. Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they'll do anything to keep the truth buried. 

lucy clarke’s a single breath

When Eva's husband Jackson tragically drowns, she longs to meet his estranged family. The journey takes her to Jackson's brother's doorstep on a remote Tasmanian island. As strange details about her husband's past begin to emerge, memories of the man she married start slipping through her fingers like sand, as everything she ever knew and loved about him is thrown into question. Now she's no longer sure whether it was Jackson she fell in love with - or someone else entirely...The truth is, it was all a lie...

So those are the thrillers I've bought recently. Have you read any of these, and if so, how did you find them (no spoilers, please!) Do you have any particular thriller recommendations for me? Please leave them in the comments down below - I'd love to hear from you!

Till next time