We Are Still Tornadoes

We Are Still Tornadoes – Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

28220739I wanted so desperately to like this one, and on the whole, I kind of did. The book was finished within a day so it was by no means terrible, it was just a little slow at times and awfully predictable.

It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change.

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.

Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.

Right from the onset, I knew what the ending of this book would be. That’s a little disappointing. I like suspense, twists and turns, unpredictability, but I didn’t have any of that with this book which made it a little dull to read. It wasn’t all bad though!

Scott and Cath are best mates, their bond is undeniable and is portrayed well throughout the series of letters that they send each other. Yep, this book is entirely letter format! Which I love by the way. It just feels so personal and intimate and ultimately highlights the fact this book was set in the 1980’s as who writes letters anymore these days? We live in a  world of technology and the art of hand written letters is long forgotten by most. Scotts character is literally like the ideal boy, he isn’t afraid to show passion or emotion and I instantly felt drawn to him. I spent the entire book hoping/waiting for the moment that he would realise that he was madly in love with Cath so I was not disappointed. Cath on the other hand, was not as likeable. She seemed whiney and I don’t feel like she was overly nice to any of her female companions.

As a former University student myself, I feel it captures University (or American college) life well. The pressures of studies thrown in with the drunken antics, sports teams, financial issues and the pressures of living away from home. It really is a pretty accurate representation of what life is often like!

The book touches on some pretty heavy subject, affairs and loss being just two. Scott loses his dad, the letters after this are almost unbearably raw. As someone who also lost their father at a young age – I totally got this. I understood and recognised every. single. feeling. that Scott had said in his letters. It was hard to read at times but also a little encouraging to know that those feelings that I once had were justified and that I’m not the only person that will have ever have felt them.

I enjoyed the ease of reading this book but at times had to convince myself to keep going, it was just a little slow. A worthy three and a half stars.

★★★1/2

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a free digital ARC in return for an honest review.

Life in a Fishbowl

25131061Life in a Fishbowl – Len Vlahos

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.

Every now and then I fall out of love with reading. I just can’t get into a book, I can’t face picking up my Kindle, I can’t face struggling through a book I have no interest in finishing (and I HATE DNF’ing a book!). Recently though, my mental health has been pretty shoddy. I’ve had a rough time at work which when coupled with a pretty ridiculous home life, things get very tough. The idea of escaping into a fictional world where I can think of anything but my own problems has become the crutch that I needed to help me keep myself sane. Life in a Fishbowl was this crutch. It was an easy read, I didn’t need to think too much but I was totally engrossed in what was happening.

The book had a number of narrators, this was difficult to follow at times. I felt it over-complicated things and I found it difficult to really establish that mental/emotional connection with the characters as you were literally jumping from one to another. The brain tumour even got his own POV – this was just weird.

For a YA novel, it featured a lot of heavy topics. Illness, death, manipulative media, money hunger and fame, corrupt nature of the world, and much more. This was refreshing, sometimes we tip-toe around heavy topics but reality is that in todays society all of these are present and should be acknowledged. YA’s need to know the realities of the world rather than being wrapped up in cotton wool I guess.

Overall, a fairly interesting read. It was my rescuer at a very dark/needy time. My love for reading has been reinvigorated and I’m ready to delve into my next fictional world now.

A worthy, 3 stars.

Thank you NetGalley for a free digital ARC in return for an honest review.

★★★1/2

Rub-a-dub-dub.

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A Bomb Cosmetics bath bomb today! This one was super cute, I loved the little ducky that was left floating around my bath tub after. It turned my bath water an appealing blue colour too (which is always a bonus, it kinda weirds me out when bath bombs turn my water brown or swamp green.) Lush will always be my number one, but they’re pricy! Managed to pick up a few Bomb Cosmetic bombs in the boxing day sale (what a fiasco can I add, it was almost as disappointing as the lush boxing day sale fiasco!)

My biggest criticism of Bomb Cosmetic bath bombs is that the white ones are rubbbbbbisshhhhhh! They don’t fix for long and they’re not pretty to look at. I will post a picture at some point of a white one so you can see how un-fun they truly are, although they do leave me smelling lovely and feeling soft which I suppose is the main thing… it’s just the childish side of me wants some pretty colours!

Schism

28817400.jpgSchism – Britt Holewins

“My name is Andrea Christensen. I’m one of the oldest oldest people in the world.”

SCHISM is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy that tells a tale of survival, of good versus evil, and of constructing a future with only memories of childhood.

A government-created virus is accidentally released before testing is complete and within weeks it kills six billion people, children are the only survivors. Andy Christensen and her two friends travel across the country searching for a safe place to live, but nowhere, it seems, is capable of resurrection.

Ok, so I loved the book, but hated the ending. It was so predictable if not even a little lazy. I totally understand authors wanting to end books on a cliffhanger so that they can build suspense for the next book in the series but jeeeeeeeeeez, make it more interesting that this. The ending totally let this one down.

There were no adults in this book, they’d all been killed off by a deadly virus. This was very easy to forget at times though as the characters were often very sophisticated, but it made the book easier and more grown-up to read. I was a little apprehensive at first and thought the book would be very childish due to the lack of adults – but I was pleasantly surprised.

The characters showed tremendous growth throughout the book which ultimately made it easier for you to really root for their survival. The relationships that they formed were realistic and I became sympathetic for how they must be feeling. There were a few flaws to the overall story like how children have learnt to drive cars, restart entire power grids/cellular networks etc. but this was easy to overlook once I got deeper into the story.

Overall, a good read that was let down by a lazy ending.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

★★★1/2

Bath bomb

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Another bath, another Lush bath bomb! Love the colours this one left swirling around my bath… not sure about the swamp green water it left me in the end though (or the fact it dyed my hand pink from holding it too long!). This one fizzed for a good twenty minutes though which meant I could enjoy a nice, long, relaxing bath.

As much as I love my bath bombs, it always makes me sad to use them as I see my Lush and Bomb Cosmetics boxing day hauls slowly disappear 😦

Something In Between

28688476.jpgSomething In Between – Melissa De La Cruz

Totally guilty of judging a book by its cover with this one – I only wanted to read it because I liked how pretty it looked!

It feels like there’s no ground beneath me, like everything I’ve ever done has been a lie. Like I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong?

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

So did the book live up to its cover? Yes AND no. This book tackles the issue of immigration within the United States, a topic that I feel is very prominent in todays society so a very worthy feature. Imagine spending your whole life believing you were living in a county legally and having numerous dreams and aspirations about your future… only to find out you’re not legal and therefore aren’t entitled to fulfil any of those dreams. I, myself, could not imagine what that would ever feel like, anything that I’ve ever wanted to achieve has always been within reach and achievable, so much so that its very, very easy to forget that for some people that is not the case. This book serves its purpose of educating the reader and provoking thought and conversation surrounding this very important topic.

My biggest criticism of this book was the characters talked/acted in a way that was a lot younger than their portrayed ages. You would think they were young teenagers but they were actually meant to be around eighteen. I found this frustrating at times as it made it harder to fully engage and believe in the story. I would also say the story was a little predictable – I had the outcome guessed after the first couple of chapters. That’s not completely a bad thing but I would have much preferred it if it managed to keep me guessing for a little longer.

Royce, Jasmines love interest, was perfect. I believe the author was very successful at creating a character that would be impossible NOT to love. If anything, I am now going to find it harder to ever get myself in a relationship because I want someone to be exactly like Royce. Thanks for that, when I’m old and lonely I’ll have this very book to blame for my unrealistic expectations of the male species!

I’m a little on the shelf about this one, it was a pretty long read and at times I found it slow, but ultimately it tackled a very important issue that more young adults should be aware of in todays society.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

★★★1/2