Sunday, 21 April 2013

Diary of a Crush: French Kiss by Sarra Manning

Title: Diary of a Crush: French Kiss
Author: Sarra Manning
Published by: Atom
Publication date: 30th May 2013
Pages: 240
Genres: Young Adult/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

New town, new college, new people, Edie's feeling overwhelmed. What if nobody wants to be her friend? But then something happens that turns her life upside down: Edie spots Dylan. Messy-haired, pouty, frustratingly elusive Dylan...

Fast forward to the college trip to Paris and things are really heating up. In between shopping, the clubbing, the kissing and the making up, something happens between Edie and Dylan that could change both their lives for ever.

But do boys like Dylan ever play for keeps?

She just knows that this is the start of a roller-coaster, big-time love story. And she puts it all down in her diary.

Edie and Dylan meet in Photography class at college. From the first scene that Dylan is in, we can see that he is a player and doesn't particularly care for anyone's feelings. However, Edie becomes a little obsessed with him and starts going out with Josh to try and get rid of her feelings for Dylan. I felt really sorry for Josh as he seemed nice and he genuinely cared for Edie, unlike Dylan. The scene where Edie ungratefully accepts a gift from Josh for their one month anniversary was cringe-worthy and I felt empathy for Josh. The whole book was basically a massive love triangle - Josh loved Edie, Edie loved Dylan, Dylan loved Edie and Mia, Mia loved Paul, Shona loved Paul, Paul loved Mia and goes on.

I really liked the diary format of the book as it was easy to tell the timeline of events. However, it was a bit hard to understand the intentions of some characters through the diary. For example, at the beginning of the book, Dylan and Shona are all over each other. But then it becomes apparent that they are just good friends and Shona becomes best friends with Edie. At first, I was a bit sceptical of Shona as it seemed like she might be trying to get gossip about Dylan from Edie to use against her, but then I realised their friendship was real and they actually made a nice addition to the book.

The cover is really nicely designed and I love the mixture of a real photo with an illustration. It stands out well and is different from other book covers.

A slight disappointment that I had with this book was that there didn't seem to be any real plot, and there were no twists in the story to keep me reading. I only continued reading because I'm one of those people who have to finish a book, whether it's good or not. The story was basically just Edie and Dylan slowly realising their love for each other. It was a nice, quick read but it didn't seem to have any real substance. There was some great potential and I liked Edie and Shona as characters, but I just don't feel this book was as good as it could have been. Sarra Manning is actually one of my favourite authors, but sadly this book just wasn't for me! 3/5.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

Title: The Sea Sisters
Author: Lucy Clarke
Published by: Harper Collins
Publication date: 9th May 2013
Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Two sisters, one life-changing journey…

There are some currents in the relationship between sisters that run so dark and so deep, it’s better for the people swimming on the surface never to know what’s beneath . . .

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?

Katie and Mia are two sisters who are very different. Katie is organised, mature, responsible and doesn't take risks. Mia is irresponsible, immature, is happy to take risks and loves freedom. They don't have the best relationship with each other - they are always arguing. It made me quite sad when they argued, because I knew that in a few chapters Mia would have died, and I knew Katie would be regretting all of the arguments and bad thoughts she'd ever had with her sister.

This book has alternating points of view - we'll see life from Mia's eyes in one chapter, and life from Katie's in the next chapter. It wasn't confusing at all as at the top of each chapter, it said who was talking. Sometimes alternating chapters can be a problem, but it definitely wasn't a problem in 'The Sea Sisters'.

After Mia dies on her travels, Katie decides to travel the world using the same route as Mia, with only Mia's travel journal as a guide. This made it really interesting, to see how each sister experienced the same places so differently. A lovely character in the book was Finn - Mia's best friend - who went travelling with her. He secretly loved Mia, and *spoiler alert* it made me sad that Mia never loved him back in the same way. Also, Katie loved Finn but he didn't love her, so it was a bit of a love triangle! It was just disappointing that none of them ended up with who they wanted. *end of spoiler*

It took me a while to get into this book, but once it started getting exciting, I couldn't put it down. If you haven't read this already, you should! The characters and plot are well developed and thought out and I've never read anything like this before. It's a brilliant story full of twists and turns - an emotional roller coaster!
Monday, 15 April 2013

The Academy: Game On by Monica Seles

Title: The Academy: Game On
Author: Monica Seles
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 6th June 2013
Pages: 256
Genres: Young Adult/Sports
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

The Academy is the international sports school. So it's all about sport, right?

Not when there are two ways in. Be the best. Or the super-rich...and insanely powerful.

Maya is a tennis star-in-the-making and a scholarship kid. Her gift earned her a place on the courts. Now she is friends with the wealthiest girl in school and she has the attention of two irresistible brothers.

But there aren't just two players in this game and you never know who your real competition is. As Maya is about to find out.

This glitzy world of sports academies comes to you from international sensation and winner of nine Grand Slam titles, Monica Seles. 

Maya comes from a poor family. For as long as she can remember, her parents have invested any money that comes their way into her future - Tennis. Maya has tried year after year to get into the prestigious academy, and is finally successful on the fourth year of applying. But the academy ends up changing more than just her tennis skills...

The main theme in this story is discovering yourself, and it carries the message that you should always stay true to yourself. Maya ends up being the person she never wanted to be.

At times, Maya annoyed me. Sometimes it seemed like she didn't have any common sense. However, she improved towards the end of the story and I started to like her. I liked her friends Cleo and Renee. They were sweet characters and loyal friends. The two love interests, brothers Travis and Jake, just confused me! I wasn't sure who Maya was meant to be having a crush on, who she was going out with or which one she disliked. They were interesting characters, but it was a bit confusing when they were in the same scene.

This story was fun to read and I read it all in a couple of hours. The plot was good and I've never actually read a book set in a sports academy so it made a nice change. I give this book a rating of 4/5.
Thursday, 11 April 2013

Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja

Title: Diary of a Mall Girl
Author: Luisa Plaja
Published by: Curious Fox
Publication date: 14th March 2013
Pages: 272
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

"I'm not even exaggerating. My life is absolutely over. It's official."

The mall is the heart of fifteen-year-old Molly's suburban town. Most teens hang around with friends there, get their first job there, and experience their first kiss there. And Molly? She actually lives in the complex's residential wing.
But living in a massive shopping centre isn't as much fun as it sounds. That is, until mysterious twins Jewel and Jasper move into the flat upstairs. Suddenly life is a lot more exciting - and complicated. Will Molly get what she wants, or will it all come crashing down?

Find out the whole truth in Molly's private diary. Toxic friends, mystery neighbours, and snogging in the lift. Who said that life was officially over?

'Diary of a Mall Girl' is written from the point of view of fifteen-year-old Molly. She's your typical teenage girl which readers can relate to and enjoy reading about. It was like reading about my best friend instead of a character in a book!

The plot is fun and light-hearted, and it's nice to read if you're stressed or just need to escape for a while. Full of embarrassing and funny moments, this book is sure to make you laugh! I loved reading about the things Molly got up to in the shopping centre. The idea of living in a shopping centre sounds so cool, and I was a bit envious of Molly - bearing in mind that my nearest one is about two hours away!

I didn't really like Molly's 'friends' Ameera and Wendy. Ameera just did what everyone told her to, and didn't seem to have any opinions of her own. Wendy got angry over nothing, which was a bit annoying. They did improve though! I loved Jewel - she was kind and interesting, and it would have been great to read more about her.

I already read this book on Fiction Express in 2011 (wow, I didn't realise it was so long ago!) but that didn't stop this being a wonderful read the second time. Obviously I loved every minute of it - the same with all of Plaja's other books - and I really think every teenage girl should read this. I haven't read any negative reviews of this and it's pretty clear why!

If you haven't read 'Diary of a Mall Girl', what are you waiting for? It's a fab read! 5/5!
Monday, 8 April 2013

50 Things UPDATE

Hi everyone! This post will be a bit different from my usual ones. I was looking at my old blog earlier (Let's Call It a Journey - I stopped writing on it when I created this blog.) and I found this blog post from when I was 11 years old. It's a list of 50 things I wanted to do before I turned 13, and I've just crossed all the things I did off the list. I'm happy to say I did 36 things! Now I'm nearly 15, I might make a new list like this at some point.

"50 Things I want to do before I'm 13...
  1. Meet Cathy Cassidy again
  2. Meet my targets at school before the end of Year 7
  3. Get a new phone
  4. Have £200 in my bank at some point
  5. Save enough for a laptop
  6. Meet Sophia Bennett
  7. Move up a set in Maths
  8. Go to Cornwall
  9. Go abroad
  10. Go to London
  11. Paint my bedroom
  12. Complete my second wall-collage
  13. Make more new friends
  14. Start doing vlogs
  15. Dip-dye my hair
  16. Bake some cookies
  17. Get the lead role in a play
  18. Get my head shots re-done for my agent
  19. Write a novel
  20. Be nicer to people
  21. Keep my bedroom tidy....ish...
  22. Learn to play guitar properly
  23. Get drumming lessons at school
  24. Move up a set in French
  25. Do my homework on time
  26. Organize my clothes
  27. Get a job 
  28. Make smoothies
  29. Have a birthday party this year
  30. Try not to be such a shopaholic
  31. Grow taller
  32. Buy some CD Wall Tiles from Firebox
  33. Go for a picnic somewhere
  34. ...and make/buy all the food for it
  35. Advertise The Mile Long Bookshelf more
  36. Do more for my friends
  37. Go to a VW Camper festival this summer
  38. Take better photos
  39. See my French cousins again
  40. Go roller skating
  41. Go ice skating
  42. Ignore certain immature people
  43. Add to my scarf collection xD
  44. Go to Yorkshire to see my Grandma and Grandad
  45. LOL more
  46. Give more to charity
  47. Buy another bookcase/bookshelf
  48. Ban all Justin Bieber songs (no offence Bieber lovers)
  49. Sort out all my emails
  50. Do well in  Drama"
I can't believe I wrote 'LOL more'. Really?! *sigh* Anyway, I just posted this here because I thought you guys might find it interesting (or not!). Let me know what you think of my pre-teen goals in the comments below! :)
Thursday, 4 April 2013

By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt

Title: By Any Other Name
Author: Laura Jarratt
Published by: Electric Monkey
Publication date: 1st April 2013
Pages: 368
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

I picked up the book and thumbed through the pages. Names in alphabetical order, names with meanings, names I knew, names I'd never heard of.

How to pick? Nothing that would stand out, nothing that would link me to the past - those were the instructions.
The past. As if everything that had gone before this moment was buried already.

New girl, new school, new home, new life - everything about Holly is new. That's the point of witness protection; nobody knows the truth. But one wrong move will put her whole family in danger...

Nobody can know the truth - her life depends on it. 

When I received this book, the title and cover instantly intrigued me.  I had a feeling it would be amazing as I've read Skin Deep by the same author which is brilliant.

The main protagonist is Holly, who has been forced into Witness Protection along with her parents and little sister Katie. This is because Holly was unlucky enough to witness something traumatic - we find out what that was gradually throughout the story which keeps you hooked. Being put into Witness Protection involves moving house, moving to a different school, and having to forget the past, which Holly has trouble with.

Holly's younger sister Katie is autistic, and it was interesting to get an insight into life living with an autistic child. I really loved her role in the story, and even though we didn't get to know much about her, she was definitely one of my favourite characters.

I loved the relationship between Holly and 'Emo Boy' a.k.a Joe. It showed that it doesn't matter what your first impression of someone is, if you get to know them better, your perception of them might become totally different.

'By Any Other Name' is really unpredictable, and that's something I love in a book because it keeps you hooked. Whilst reading this, I really didn't want to put it down, which meant I stayed up until about 3am to finish it! It was worth it though - this has definitely made it onto my list of favourite books. It's exciting and full of action, with a couple of romantic moments to keep it sweet! Definitely a must-read.

My review really doesn't do this book justice. It is so amazing, and I couldn't find any faults with it. I highly recommend it to...everyone! It's nothing like any book I've ever read. I enjoyed this so much! READ IT!