Review: Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan

Title – Stargazing for Beginners
Author – Jenny McLachlan
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 256 pages
Publication Date – April 6th 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN – 9781408879757
My Rating – ★★★★/5

When Meg looks up at the stars, she sees adventure and escape. She sees her future. Meg’s dream is to become an astronaut.

But her life is thrown into chaos when her mother drops everything, including Meg and her sister Elsa, to go on one of her trips. DePGBIyVwAEm0oI

I received a copy of Stargazing for Beginners from Bloomsbury Australia to review.

I don’t read a lot of contemporaries. Or I didn’t read a lot of contemporaries. I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. But I found myself not wanting to put it down. I was drawn into Meg and Elsa’s life and I needed to know what was going to happen to them. And I was really hoping Meg would tell her mother where to shove leaving her and Elsa.

Anyway, I really liked Meg. I found her funny, strong and awkward too but in a good way. Meg had been put into a group at school and I always looked forward to reading about their meetings. There were a few characters from the meetings that I loved. I especially loved Annie.

Stargazing for Beginners had the cliche nerd falling for a popular guy but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Ed wasn’t the typical “popular guy” – he was actually a nice guy and smart too. And for a nice change it didn’t feels cheesy to me. I liked Meg and Ed together.

I was really angry at Meg’s mother for just leaving without plans for her children first. Yes, Meg was supposed to take Elsa to their grandfather but Meg was more responsible then him. I guess she had to be with a mother like hers. I found it so selfish of their mother to just up and leave without a thought to how Meg and Elsa would feel. I don’t have kids but I feel like parents don’t have the right to just leave without making arrangements for where their kids should stay first. And you know, have food for them to eat while they’re gone.

For someone who wasn’t a big fan of contemporaries, especially with cliche love stories, I really enjoyed Stargazing for Beginners. So I’d definitely recommend this if you are a fan.

*Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

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Review: Truthers by Geoffrey Girard.

Title – Truthers
Author – Geoffrey Girard
How I Got It – From the publishers
Pages – 360 pages
Publication Date – August 1st 2017 by Carolrhoda Lab
ISBN – 9781512427790
My Rating – ★★/5

“Katie Wallace has never given much thought to 9/11. She was only a year old when terrorists struck American soil. But now her dad has landed in a mental institution after claiming to know what really happened. He insists the attacks were part of a government conspiracy. And he claims that Katie is living proof: the lone survivor of a massive cover-up.

Hoping to free her dad, Katie sets out to investigate his bizarre claims. Soon she’s drawn into the strange and secretive world of 9/11 conspiracy theorists known as the -Truthers.

Wading through a dangerous web of fact and fiction, questions and distortion, Katie no longer knows what to believe. But she does know that she’s being followed and that someone is determined to stop her search for the truth.” Untitled

I received a copy of Truthers from Walker Books Australia. I don’t even know where to start with this review. I’m months behind with my reviews and this is the first one I chose to catch up with. So please bear with me as I muddle through this and try to remember what I thought about this book when I read it last year.

Anyway, Truthers didn’t make a very good impression on me. I did manage to finish the book but the plot seemed so crazy I can’t even remember why I wanted to read it. I don’t want to go into all the ways the author talked about Muslims (like they’re all terroists and extremists.) A lot of the people who read this book probably don’t remember 9/11 and this will not help them understand what happened. it feeds into the conspiricy thoeries and then the way Muslims are talked about. I really just wanted to put it down but I felt I had to finish it as it was a review book.

I am so glad that I didn’t pay for a copy of this book. And not just because of what I said above but the writing just wasn’t for me either. I’m pretty sure this is meant to be a YA novel but it reads more like a book for younger readers. Not sure I’d want kids reading this though, with all the conspiriacy thoeries and the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorist.”

I know it’s been months since I read this but I can’t find myself wanting to recommend this to anyone. Or wanting to read another book by this author. This book has really put me off any other books by Girard.

*Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth.

Title – All These Beautiful Strangers
Author –Elizabeth Klehfoth
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 504 pages
Publication Date – July 12th 2018 by Penguin
ISBN – 9780241329498
My Rating – ★★★★/5

“Seventeen year old Charlie Calloway appears to have a life most people would kill for – a tight-knit family, a loyal set of friends and top grades at a prestigious boarding school. But when a serious invitation arrives from her school’s exclusive secret society, she finds herself thrust into a world of dark secrets – ones that implicate her family in not one but two crimes and force her to reckon with a demon she thought long-buried in her past – who or what was behind her mother’s disappearance ten years ago?”

I received a copy of All These Beautiful Strangers from Penguin Random House New Zealand to review. dhsx3pcvaaapthn

I’d heard this was similar to Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl, which I loved so I had to pick up a copy of this. I can totally see where the comparisons came from but All These Beautiful Strangers had it own twists. I see more of a connection to The Skulls rather than Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl though. But enough of this and onto the book.

I really got over reading about all these entitled brats that Charlie went to school with. I mean, yes, Charlie was also a brat at the beginning but I don’t think it took her long to realise that the crap these kids were doing was out of control and ridiculous. It did take her longer to speak up and be like gtfo of here with this. But at least she got there in the end right? I don’t get why anyone would want to be in that group anyway. Not with some of the things they were doing. Like “oh no, a teacher wouldn’t hook up with me so I’ll show him who he’s not messing around with and get him fired!” Not only losing his job but ending his career too. No, you entitled little witch! Grow up!

K, rant over. Moving on.. The mystery surrounding Charlie’s mother was what actually kept me coming back to this book. I wanted to know if what I thought had happened was right and I did figure it out. I can’t remember what stood out for me but they were just the most likely suspect for me. And the whole connection was too much of a coincidence for me.

Despite how this review might come across, I did enjoy All These Beautiful Strangers even though I didn’t like most of the characters in the book. Even Charlie wasn’t a great character a lot of the time. I hated her obsession with becoming an A, even after she’d seen all the horrible things they were doing and the kinds of horrible people she wanted to hang out with.

I’d recommend this to anyone who liked Gossip Girl, Cruel Intentions, The Skulls. We Were Liars and things like that. If you enjoyed those then you may like this too.

*Thank you Penguin Random House New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness.

Title – The Ask and the Answer
Series – Chaos Walking trilogy #2
Author – Patrick Ness
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 528 pages
Publication Date – February 1st 2018 by Walker Books – 10th anniversary edition
ISBN – 9781406379174
My Rating – ★★★★/5

Viola and Todd have reached Haven but it wasn’t the haven they were expecting it to be. Now they’ve been separated from each other. Todd is imprisoned and is forced into Mayor Prentiss’s new “order.” Viola has been recovering at a healing house full of women. While she’s being as an apprentice a group starts bombing the town. The decisions Viola and Todd make next could change them forever.

I received a copy of The Ask and the Answer from Walker Books Australia to review. This is the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, hereDfcxI-eU0AAZtyZ

I was a little frustrated with Todd in this book. Actually with both Todd and Viola. I just couldn’t understand why Todd went along with everything Prentiss had him do, all the horrible things, especially after Viola left. For me, Prentiss is such a twisted and horrible person and I just expected Todd would have done anything to get away from him.

Also, the way Viola and Todd kept doubting each other was very frustrating. Especially after everything they’d been through on their journey to Haven. I guess when you have people in your ear telling you things and everything points to them being right, it definitely could put doubts in your head. I’m just glad they eventually decided to make their own choices. Which is what I feel this is all about – having the strength to make your own choices in the face of horrible situations.

Both The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer have been very fast paced and enjoyable books. I couldn’t put all of them down. I’ll definitely be reading the last book in the trilogy, Monsters of Men, very soon.

At the end of The Ask and the Answer there was another short story or novella. This one took place before the Spackle War, which was thirteen years before the events in these books I think. I’m not sure how, or if, it will link into Monsters of Men but I’m looking forward to finding out.

*Thanks Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Ringer by Lauren Oliver.

Title – Ringer
Series – Replica #2
Author – Lauren James
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 528 pages
Publication Date – October 10th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN – 9781473615052
My Rating – ★★★★/5

Outside the Haven Institute, Lyra and Caelum are struggling to fit in. Lyra was infected with a horrible disease and her symptoms are getting worse. One day Caelum leaves with no warning and Lyra follows, hoping to find a cure. Instead they discover a shocking connection to the Haven Institute.

Gemma just wants to go back to life before she uncovered her father’s secret. But he has other ideas – ones that include the replicas. Gemma and her boyfriend Pete try to stop him but soon find out they’re not safe either. The Haven Institute wasn’t destroyed and now Gemma is the one locked up. DdwUN5oV4AASuti

I received a copy of Ringer from Hachette New Zealand to review. This is the conclusion to Replica. I read Ringer the same way I read Replica – in alternating chapters. But they can also be read one POV at a time. Even though Gemma and Lyra’s stories are different they are also connected.

I thought Ringer was a great conclusion to Replica. There was so much going on for both Gemma and Lyra. It was action packed on both sides. Although sometimes I felt like there was more going on for Gemma. But looking back I think Lyra went through a lot too. While she was also struggling with an illness too.

I really liked both Gemma and Lyra. Caelum has annoyed me in both books but I guess I can understand why he did some of the things he did and I do get why he had trouble trusting other people. But I still found him annoying. I loved that even though it was Gemma’s father involved in the Haven Institute she was still willing to do everything she could to stop him and help the replicas. Not that it always worked out for her.

I really liked how this book what set out too. I’ve never read a book that’s been set out like these were. I don’t even know if there are other books like this.

I enjoyed both Gemma and Lyra’s stories and all the mystery and suspense. I also think Ringer had a really good ending. I wasn’t expecting a happily ever after and so I wasn’t disappointed.

I would definitely recommend both Replica and Ringer to anyone who loves mystery, sci-fi (pretty sure clones come under sci-fi?) and some action and suspense.

*Thank you Hachette New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

 

 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Title – The Poet X
Author – Elizabeth Acevedo
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 361 pages
Publication Date – March 8th 2018 by Hardie Grant Egmont
ISBN – 9781405291460
My Rating – ★★★★★/5

Xiomara has secrets. She has a crush on a guy in her biology class. A notebook full of poems that she hides under her bed. A slam poetry club that pulls her secrets out in the open.

In a world where she feels like no one is interested in what she has to say, Xiomara refuses to keep quiet. DX4bCj6U8AAwawV

I received a copy of The Poet X from Hardie Grant Egmont Australia to review.

I haven’t read a lot of books written in verse but out of the two or three that I have read I really enjoyed them. I always assumed that there wouldn’t be a lot of information or I wouldn’t be able to connect to the characters when books were written in verse but I was completely wrong. I couldn’t put this book down.

I really loved The Poet X! It was so honest and raw. Xiomara’s story hit on some really important topics – family, self acceptance, sexuality, religion, love and friendship. It was so beautifully written and I just couldn’t stop reading about Xiomara and her family.

I really felt for what Xiomara and her brother, Xavier, were going through. They had very strict parents, well maybe just the mother, I can’t really remember much about their father. Xiomara feels invisible and like no one is listening to what she wants. So she expresses herself through her poetry.

Xiomara was a very strong person, but vulnerable at the same time. I loved reading her story and the journey she went on in The Poet X. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to review this book. I’m not sure I would have heard of it otherwise. The Poet X is definitely worth reading!

This was an amazing debut and I can’t wait to see what Acevedo writes next.

*Thank you Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

Title – The Knife of Never Letting Go
Series – Chaos Walking trilogy #1
Author – Patrick Ness
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 496 pages
Publication Date – February 1st 2018 by Walker Books – 10th anniversary edition
ISBN – 9781406379167
My Rating – ★★★★/5

Prentisstown is unlike any other town. That’s because you can hear everyone’s thoughts in a never-ending Noise. There are no secrets in Prentisstown.

One month before Todd’s birthday, he comes across a place in the swamp where it’s completely silent and his life will never be the same again.

I received a copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go from Walker Books Australia to review. I haven’t read a lot of Ness’s books but I’d heard really good things about this trilogy so I wanted to finally check it out for myself. DXFfr9tVAAAXB8t

The synopsis for this book doesn’t really explain much but I also didn’t want to give too much away for the people who haven’t read it yet. Unless I’m the last one? Haha. Anyway, so much happened in this book I don’t even know where to start.

I loved Todd’s dog, Manchee. I thought he was hilarious. But I did find Todd kind of annoying in the beginning. I do understand why he did some things. I hated not knowing what was in the journal for most of the book and I probably blamed that on Todd.

The language, or Noise, in The Knife of Never Letting Go took me a while to get used to. Especially the slang. But once it because part of the story it didn’t bug me so much that the Noise had spelling mistakes. It makes sense though, Todd can’t read or write so his Noise wouldn’t be able to spell words correctly.

Like I said before, a lot happened in this book and I’m not going to spoil anything. But I will say that I liked this book a lot more that the others I’ve read by Ness. It had so many things that kept me coming back for more – secrets, lies, hidden agendas, alien-like beings and impending war – what’s not to love?

My copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go has a short story at the end called The New World. It’s in Viola’s POV and I really enjoyed it. I’m glad it was included in this edition.

I’m looking forward to reading The Ask and the Answer soon.

*Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.