Posts Tagged ‘Contemporary’

Two Ticks Tuesday; What’s a Girl Gotta Do?

Holly Bourne
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…
Lottie’s determined to change the world with her #Vagilante vlog. Shame the trolls have other ideas…

Really enjoyed the way the author highlighted everyday sexism with humour but, as with the previous books in this series, still managed to address serious elements in a sensitive and informative way.

I really recommend this series.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher:Usbourne Publishing
Publication Date: August 2016
Format: ebook
Pages: 331
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
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Two Ticks Tuesday; More Than We Can Tell

Brigid Kemmerer
Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.
When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

There are not enough words to describe how much I truly love Brigid Kemmerer’s books and this one was even better than the last – as if that was possible! Brigid has strong characters that she truly makes you feel. Empathy isn’t a strong enough word for the emotions she invokes in you. Her theme’s are always deep, sometimes dark but also end with hope and a light for the future. Highly recommend!

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Challenge: None

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Two Ticks Tuesday; How Hard Can Love Be?

Holly Bourne
Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?
All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.
And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

I am absolutely loving this series and I raced through this instalment in a single sitting.
Despite the heavy backstory I didn’t find this as intense as the first. I did however find it even funnier and I could completely relate to Amber’s Britishness
I continued to love Lottie’s feminist insights, they work well within the story and don’t feel like info dumps. a fabulous way to introduce feminist principles and ideas to young people. I plan to gift this series to every tween and teen I know.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Usborne
Publication Date: February 2016
Format: ebook
Pages: 480
Genre: Contemporary, Feminism
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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Two Ticks Tuesday; Turtles All The Way Down

John Green
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

A lot of people are praising this book and I can definitely see why. I really did like this book but it was probably a 3.5/4 star book for me as opposed to a big 5 star read.

I liked a lot of the things that happened but I also really disliked a few things too. A bit swings and roundabouts!

What was good about the book is that it made me THINK and you can find more of my thoughts here.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2017
Format: Hardback
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source:
Challenge: None
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Blog Tour: Wing Jones Path to Publication

We are delighted to be hosts on this visually stimulating and interesting Photo tour of Wing Jones and author Katherine Webber’s inspiration.
25909375Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.
23_KW-1
While living in Hong Kong, I was lucky enough not only to travel all over Asia, but even take a trip to Africa. Wing has an imaginary dragon and lioness who comfort her and guide her, and seeing lions up close in the wild absolutely inspired that—and gave me a better idea of how to write about how a lion moves and acts. I still haven’t seen a dragon, but maybe one day 😉
Posted by Katherine Webber

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California in 1987. She has lived in Hong Kong, Hawaii, and Atlanta. She currently lives in London with her husband.
She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life. She has climbed the Great Wall of China, ridden camels in the Sahara Desert, camped in the Serengeti, visited sacred temples in Bhutan, trekked to Machu Picchu, and eaten her way through Italy. Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.
Katherine studied Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis and Chinese literature and language at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has worked at an international translation company, a technology startup, and, most recently, a London based reading charity.
Wing Jones is her first novel.

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Songs About a Girl

Chris Russell
songs girlCharlie Bloom never wanted to be ‘with the band’. She’s happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she’s asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can’t pass up the chance.
Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys’ rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs…

This book follows Charlie Bloom, a budding photographer who is asked to take behind the scene pictures of the biggest teen boy band in the world – Fire and Lights. Charlie finds herself in the unfamiliar world of paparazzi, celebrities and tabloid gossip and soon becomes caught up with the gorgeous lead singer and teen heartthrob, Gabriel West and his incredibly sweet band mate, Olly Samson. Her newfound celebrity status sends shock waves through her everyday life as Charlie discovers a shocking message hidden within the bands new album – Songs About a Girl.

Above all this is a book about growing up and dealing with friends and family. It not only explores relationship dynamics but also looks at bullying and a variety of issues present in everyday life. Not to mention the very exciting and swoon worthy romance that captivates the reader from page one and had me squealing intermittently throughout the book.

Chris Russell successfully creates a very likeable protagonist- Charlie – who is an ordinary yet real character and whose qualities made the narrative that bit more relatable whilst contributing to the light nature of the novel. The characters of Olly and Gabriel had considerable depth for a novel of this nature, although at times their angst came across as quite forced and somewhat clichéd.

I did, however, think the plot was interesting and constantly evolved throughout the novel. The twists and turns in the storyline kept me constantly engaged whilst the cliffhanger at the end definitely ensured I will purchase the second instalment of this series. Additionally, I thought the book was surprisingly hilarious whilst delightfully heart-warming and Chris Russell’s love for music oozed from every page – making the narrative have a somewhat authentic vibe.

Although this was by no means the most well written book I have ever read, I did find it wonderfully uplifting and immensely satisfying. I found the plot to be of a great rhythm that had me glued to every page whilst the writing style was incredibly easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable.

Verdict: To put it simply this was an addictive story that I would recommend to everyone who is looking for a light and extremely fun read. Chris Russell has created a truly loveable world with a captivating plot and relatable characters. I would recommend this if you enjoyed Open Road Summer by Emery Lord and I think it is suitable for 10+ readers as there is little to no mature content

Reviewed by Evie (14)

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: July 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 496
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Music
Age: YA
Reviewer: Evie (14)
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Am I Normal Yet?

Holly Bourne

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
Taken from my Litsy Profile: This book was incredible. Honestly. As someone who suffers with OCD, I found the representation of it in this book to be so spot on. But on top of that I also loved the storyline, the emphasis on friendship and feminism, and just how strong and powerful the book is. I would highly recommend this book and I am cursing myself for not reading it sooner!

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
In all honesty, the complete and utterly wonderful portrayal of OCD. It shows just how difficult it is to have the mental illness and how it isn’t just about being a perfectionist. I feel that Holly Bourne has really created a character who can create a lot of empathy in people who do not have the illness and do not completely understand it.

Two of my favourite quotes about this in the book are:

“Me and my problems, they only existed because I wasn’t strong enough. Because I was weak and couldn’t pull myself together like everyone else did.”

These words – words like OCD and bipolar – are not words to use lightly. And yet now they’re everywhere. There are TV programmes that actually pun on them. People smile and is them, proud of themselves for learning them, like they should get a sticker or something. Not realizing that if those words are said to you by a medical health professional, as a diagnosis of something you’ll probably have for ever, they’re words you don’t appreciate being misused every single day by someone who likes to keep their house quite clean.”

Who was your favourite character and why?
Without question of a doubt, my favourite character was Evie. I related to her so much and it was wonderful to see her struggles and her strength right there on the page. I loved her so much and I thought she was a really interesting character to read about as well. I did feel a little put off by some of her actions but this was a personal thing on my part and was not enough to make me fall out of love with her!

Would you recommend this book?
100% yes. This book is marvellous. It is a treat for the eyes and the soul. It is educational, entertaining, and will fill your heart with so many wonderful emotions. It is a brilliant book that I will, myself, be re-reading for sure and wish that everyone falls in love with it too.

Summarize the book in one sentence. (Verdict)
A powerful, strong, and unique book that has a wonderful portrayal of OCD, Friendship and Feminism.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Publication Date: August 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 434
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Accidental Superstar

Marianne Levy

If I’d known that two million people were going to be watching, I’d probably have done a bit of tidying up.
Katie Cox is used to going unnoticed, by her mum, her dad, even her best friend. But when a video of her singing in her bedroom goes viral, she becomes a superstar overnight. As the views skyrocket and a recording contract beckons, the real world starts to feel very far away.
And now Katie’s riding high on her newfound fame. But the higher she goes, the further there is to fall…
Accidental Superstar by Marianne Levy is the first in a hilarious series about a girl who accidentally finds fame singing online.

What were your initial thoughts of the book?
I thought this book was one of those really lovely and uplifting books that fills you with hope and happiness. I ended the book feeling just that little bit better about the world. The rest of the book is emotional and addictive. The perfect combination to make this book a quick, heartwarming and cute book that is sure to make you happy by the end of it.

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
I think my favourite aspect was the way that Katie learnt so much from her viral video. It took her on a very intriguing journey that she certainly wasn’t expecting and she didn’t deal with very well but I loved that by the end of it, she seemed to grow so much as a person. I would actually love to read a sequel to the book just to see where she took the rest of her life.

Who was your favourite character and why?
My favourite character was probably Mad Jaz, which is surprising but I loved how much of a surprising character she was in the book. She was edgy, different and unique but deep down she also cared, seemed lonely and just wanted to fit in. I thought she really made the book that little bit more exciting and fascinating to read.

Would you recommend this book?
Definitely. Especially if you’re looking for a real pick me up kind of book where everything sort of fits together by the end of it. I will say that if you’re really struggling with Katie at the beginning to preserve as it is definitely worth the journey by the end.

Summarize the book in one sentence. (Verdict)
A surprisingly emotional and uplifting story about a girl who has a lot of lessons to learn about what is important in life.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: January 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Borrowed
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Blog Tour: The Puppet Master

Abigail Osborne

Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?
Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?
Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.
Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?
One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

Let’s start simple, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, thanks for having me. Well, I’m a Needs Assessor, which involves helping students with disabilities at University. I live in the West Midlands with my husband and my two crazy cats Poppy and Lulu. I also have my own book reviewing website called Many Books, Many lives. I love to read and my spare room has so many book cases there is a very real possibility the floor may cave in.

Writers should be readers too, so… what is your favourite book at the moment?
Oh that is so hard, I have so many but if I had to say my all-time favourite book it would be Jane Eyre. It was the first book that made me realise how much power writing had and how gripping it can be. It gave me friends when I didn’t have any and just made me feel less alone. I reread it all the time.

Where did you get your inspiration for the Puppet Master?
I got my inspiration from various things that have happened to me and my friends. I always find it fascinating how people can have many faces. They can control you without you realising and what’s more, they think they have every right to do that. I have experienced manipulative people in my life and I wanted to write a book that showed not only the different ways people can be manipulated but also that these people don’t have to win and it is possible to take back control.

What is your favourite beverage to have while writing?
I am a massive diet-coke addict. I don’t drink coffee or tea so for me it is the only way to get a caffeine fix. It wakes me up and gives me energy when I’m lagging. I don’t even think I particularly love the taste I just think it’s the energy boost I like.

What was your favourite part of writing the Puppet Master?
My favourite part was writing the parts that came purely from my imagination. I would read it back and I would think to myself – where did that come from. It’s a really strange and enjoyable feeling reading back something that didn’t exist until you wrote it down, if that makes sense.

If you could live inside any book world, which world would you choose and why?
That is very hard. It’s going to have to be Harry Potter’s world. I mean magic wands and apparating! Don’t even get me started on playing Quidditch (FYI – I would totally be playing professionally!)

If you could be best friends with any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
One of my other favourite books is The Name of Wind and I would love to be friends with Kvothe, I really love his character and his personality, plus you know there is going to be adventure wherever he is!

Can you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters)
My book is about the power manipulative people can wield and the strength it takes to overcome horrific ordeals and not let them define you.

Interview questions by Faye


Abbie was born in the Lake District and has moved all around the UK since then until she met her husband at University. She lives with him and their two crazy cats in the West Midlands. She is a Needs Assessor for students with disabilities and has her own book reviewing blog called Many Books, Many Lives. Even though she did English Literature at University it wasn’t until she started reviewing books that she realised how much she loved to write. The Puppet Master is her first novel but it certainly won’t be her last.
You can follow her on @Abigail_Author or @MBequalsML.

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Blog Tour: Making Arrangements

Ferris Robinson

Against all odds, cancer survivor Lang Ellis is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her “death sentence” when her beloved husband drops dead on the tennis court.
Devoted to him, she reels from the loss, focusing on her precious granddaughter but struggling with her bossy only child, Teddy, and his aloof girlfriend, Sarah.
With her historical family estate in jeopardy, Lang realizes her husband wasn’t as perfect as she thought.
The secret he carried to his grave can ruin her life.
If she lets it.

Excerpt
What do you wear the day after your husband dies? Lang wondered, damp from the shower. She put on her old sweatpants and Jack’s practically disintegrated Auburn sweatshirt because they were so soft. She wanted to feel something easy on her skin. She pressed the frayed ribbed collar to her nose and breathed in the sharp smell of aftershave and bacon grease. Jack’s smell.

Teddy sat hunched over the kitchen counter with Sarah and Katie D. on either side of him. Sarah leaned into him, her cloud of pale hair floating out over the back of Teddy’s brown sweater, hovering with static electricity. Lang watched the three of them for a moment from the doorway. She could hear murmurs of their sentences: Katie D.’s singsong voice, Teddy’s hoarse rumble, apologizing for something, and Sarah speaking so tenderly her voice didn’t sound human.

Lang closed her eyes, holding on to the doorjamb for balance, and felt Sarah’s words like they were something physical, covering her softly. Gently.

“Mom!” Teddy said, scraping the chair away from the counter. She jerked to attention.
He looked like he hadn’t slept in days; the collar of his button-down shirt was uncharacteristically wrinkled, and his azure eyes were flat.

“Oh! I didn’t hear you!” A. J. said, appearing suddenly from the hall bathroom. She looked Lang up and down, grimacing. “You still got that rubber band around your wrist.” Lang pulled the frayed cuff down to her knuckles, holding the soft fabric in her fists.

A. J. looked like a different person except for her crumpled tennis clothes. Her hair was styled and her eyes were bright and her skin was dewy. She looked like she’d found a day spa in the hall bathroom. Lang sniffed the air, detecting vanilla and deodorant.

“I smell something,” Katie D. said.

“Halston,” A. J. said, flapping her hands in circles about her neck in an effort to spread the heavy perfume around the room. Katie D. crinkled up her nose.

Lang ran her fingers under her own eyes, trying to remember the last time she’d looked in a mirror. She should have put on some makeup after her shower. Concealer under her eyes at least. She reached her hands out toward her son, then curled them into useless fists as she shook her head slowly.

Teddy wrapped his arms around her, and she felt her boy sink into her, collapsing for a second. His breath caught, and his chest shuddered against her shoulder.

“Shhh,” she said. “Don’t cry.” She felt him stiffen before he stepped away.

“How you holding up?” Teddy asked brusquely. “Who would have thought, huh? Sorry, bad joke. Dad would have laughed, though.”

Lang squeezed the edges of her mouth up into a semblance of a smile. No one would have ever thought Jack would be dead instead of her. Hilarious.


A former columnist for the Chattanooga Free Press, she is the editor of the Lookout Mountain Mirror and the Signal Mountain Mirror. Her work has been published numerous times in The Christian Science Monitor and the “Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series. She is a columnist at chattanoogan.com.
The author of several cookbooks, including “Never Trust a Hungry Cook,” which she wrote in college and the “Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook,” Ferris was featured on the cover of Women’s World magazine. Promoting her super-easy but healthy recipes, she made numerous television appearances and sold 10,000 copies of the Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook, pre-Internet. Paid subscribers from every state in the U.S. received her newsletter featuring “practically fat-free recipes for super-busy people.”
Her book “Dogs and Love – Sixteen Stories of Fidelity” has 94 reviews on Amazon, and her other books include “Authentic Log Homes.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel.

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