Book Review: The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of ThirdsThe Rule of Thirds

by Chantel Guertin

Published: October 2013 by ECW Press

Version: Ebook from publisher and Netgalley (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Sixteen-year-old Pippa Greene never goes anywhere without her camera. She and her best friend/supermodel-in-training Dace long ago mapped out their life plan: Pippa will be the noted fashion photographer, and Dace the cover girl. But ever since last spring, things have changed for Pippa—and her junior year at Spalding High proves to have its own set of challenges. Not only is Vantage Point, the statewide photography competition, in three short weeks, but her mandatory volunteering placement lands her at St. Christopher’s Hospital, a place Pippa never wanted to set foot in again. With humor and pluck, she navigates her new role as a candy striper (watch out for Code Yellows), her changing relationship with her best friend (goodbye, Honesty Pact), and—perhaps most stressful of all—her new love interests (yes, love interests plural). Will Pippa make it to Vantage Point without having a panic attack? Will either one of the guys prove less sketchy than her last boyfriend? Can she and Dace figure out a way to dream big and be best friends? One thing is certain: real life is a lot more complicated than a photograph.

I would love to be good at photography. I did have an SLR camera at one point, but I was too lazy to carry it anywhere (it was massive). My digital camera suits me just fine, but after a year I still have no idea how to use most of its features, and I use it way less than I would like to. So straight away I relate to Pippa, who has the confidence to photograph pretty much anything, and quite often has a camera slung round her neck.

Overall I quite liked Pippa. She had a lot of emotions to deal with, and I think it gave her character depth. I didn’t really have any preference for any of the side characters though- her best friend or the love interests. So it did kinda turn into a one man show for me. That being said, the hospital and photography elements really made the story unique from other contemporaries. 

I felt that the book could’ve done with a sequel or a suitable epilogue. There was a character that never really got any punishment or bad karma for their wrongdoing, and I would’ve liked to see that happen. I also felt that there were more adventures in store for Pippa, but that also shows how much I liked her as a character.

A fun contemporary that also contains heartbreak and sadness, I really enjoyed A Rule of Thirds. The photography element is what really made it special for me. 4 sofas!

snugglingonsofa3

Book Review: Finding It

Finding It (Losing It, #3)Finding It

by Cora Carmack

Published: 10 October 2013 by Ebury Press

Version: Ebook received from InkSlinger PR (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong…

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.

It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

I am thrilled to be taking part in the review tour for Finding It (organised by InkSlinger PR). I have adored Cora’s previous books and was excited to hear more about Kelsey. I always eagerly anticipate Cora’s books as I know just what to expect: a little bit of sexy romance combined with funny awkward moments, and above all a great story. I can tell you know that Finding It certainly did not disappoint, so if you loved her others you should definitely pick this up. And if you haven’t, you really should! 

We follow Kelsey (who we met in Losing It) as she goes travelling around Europe. Kelsey is a fun loving character, but when she appears to be followed by a sexy soldier, it sends her party plans out the window. 

——————————————————————–

“Adventures don’t happen when you’re worried about the future or tied down by the past. They only exist in the now. And they always, always come at the most unexpected time, in the least likely of packages. An adventure is an open window; and an adventurer is the person willing to crawl out on the ledge and leap.”

————————————————————————————-

I’d love to be able to travel around Europe and visit all the romantic and exotic locations, such as Italy and Paris. I’m just not brave enough to do so! This is one of the reasons I fell in love with this book; each location Kelsey and Jackson travel to makes me more wistful of beautiful places. Sometimes fun and usually romantic, each setting is special in its own different way, and this set Finding It apart from Cora’s other books, which have both been focussed around  America. 

Kelsey as a character was quite hard to love. The way she wore her happy mask showed pretty much from the beginning that she was a girl running away from something. Heavily in denial about her baggage, she threw herself into the partying lifestyle. In a way, she reminded me of Max from ‘Faking It’. Unfortunately, while Max’s story hit me hard and made me fall in love with her, I just didn’t take to Kelsey the same way. Whether it is because I was more invested in Cade as a partner than Jackson, I’m not sure.

If you love European romances, this is definitely the book for you. Fun and very romantic, this made me want to explore secret locations all over the world. Yet another winner by Cora! 4 sofas.

Author Bio

Cora Carmack bio pic

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

WebsiteTwitterFacebookAuthor Goodreads

FI Review Tour

Book Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily’s Book of Dares

by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Published: 5th October 2012 by Mira Ink

Version: Paperback from library

Rating: 4 sofas

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

I wanted to read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares as part of my David Levithan readathon, so I was thrilled when I saw it sitting on the library shelf (not my local). I was quite surprised how short it was, but heard lots of good things about the romance in it. 

It all begins when Dash discovers a notebook in his local bookshop, that leaves him a set of clues relating to certain books.  He decides to follow the instructions, but also to leave some clues of his own. Pretty soon Dash and Lily are corresponding through the notebook, sending each other to all sorts of places to do weird tasks. 

I must admit I found this portion of the book UTTERLY ADORABLE. Why can’t some cute guy leave me notes in my favourite bookshop?! (FYI, if you’re out there, its probably Waterstones in Bluewater or Piccadilly. Just in case) And to chase around the city following dares left in a notebook…. I adore the pre-Christmas period, where everyone is busy and festive, and this sounds like a perfect dream to me! It makes me want to take risks and be adventurous and maybe leave some notes of my own….. 

Lily was a bit desperate at times, but I did feel sorry for her too. All she wanted was a bit of excitement and somebody to like her for herself, and I think we all want that on some level. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Dash, but I think thats just a boy thing. And he likes books. And he gave Lily one of the best experiences ever (not in a gross way!). So for that, he has my heart. 

There are some really adorable moments in this book and it definitely bought a smile to my face. I would love to reread this around Christmas time. I just wish it was longer! I wanted more dares, more romance, more angst, just MORE. 4 sofas!  

“There are just lots of possibilities in the world…I need to keep my mind open for what could happen and not decide that the world is hopeless if what I want to happen doesn’t happen. Because something else great might happen in between.”

“The important people in our lives leave imprints. They may stay or go in the physical realm, but they are always there in your heart, because they helped form your heart. There’s no getting over that.” 

Book Review: Siege

SiegeSiege

by Sarah Mussi

Published: 1st March 2013 by Hodder Children’s Books

Version: Hardback from publisher (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Leah Jackson – in detention. Then armed Year 9s burst in, shooting. She escapes, just. But the new Lock Down system for keeping intruders out is now locking everyone in. She takes to the ceilings and air vents with another student, Anton, and manages to use her mobile to call out to the world. 

First: survive the gang – the so-called ‘Eternal Knights’.
Second: rescue other kids taken hostage, and one urgently needing medical help. 

Outside, parents gather, the army want intelligence, television cameras roll, psychologists give opinions, sociologists rationalize, doctors advise – and they all want a piece of Leah. Soon her phone battery is running out; the SAS want her to reconnoiter the hostage area … But she is guarding a terrifying conviction. Her brother, Connor, is at the center of this horror. Is he with the Eternal Knights or just a pawn?

She remembers. All those times Connor reached out for help … If she’d listened, voiced her fears about him earlier, would things be different now? Should she give up her brother?

With only Anton for company, surviving by wits alone, Leah wrestles with the terrible choices …

I was intrigued by this GORGEOUS book as soon as I heard about it. School shootings fall into that ‘issues’ category of things that don’t get talked about very often but really should. I like to go for books that almost guarantee an emotional read, and Siege certainly didn’t disappoint!

The first two-thirds of the book were entirely gripping, and brought up a lot of emotions about what it may be like to experience a shooting, and the choices you make. We follow Leah from the beginning, where she manages to hide from the initial horror, and then later as she tries to figure out how to help others. Should she leave her hiding place to help others that have been shot? Or try to get out and help? Or even, try to take down the shooters? 

I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience that kind of event. Living in England, I have not seen the ‘gun culture’ that is more apparent in the US, but it is getting worse here. The level of shock and fear that people feel must be overwhelming, and that raw emotion definitely comes across in the book. There are points in the book where I just felt… horrified? That this could actually be a true story was at the forefront of my mind, and it made the story very intense.

I do have to say that the last third of the book did irritate me a bit. Trying to tie up the story and the motivation behind the shooting, the story just went in a way that I didn’t expect and couldn’t really believe. It did make the plot different and reveal a kind of ‘hidden agenda’, but I just felt it was unnecessary. To me, the book was powerful enough without it, and it kind of detracted from the original message. 

Siege was a book that took my breath away. I was hooked from the start and could not put the book down. Although I didn’t agree with the ending, I think that it covers a very important topic, and I would implore teenagers to read about the impact shootings can have. 4 sofas! 

Book Review: The Rig

The RigThe Rig

by Joe Ducie

Published: 5th September 2013 by Hot Key Books

Version: Paperback from publisher (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake…

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? 

Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-­‐fi nightmare.

For fans of Bourne and CHERUB? Sold! If this book is compared to two of my favourite things ever, then it HAS to be good. Adding to that, I adored the tv series Prison Break so this sounds totally like my kind of book. 

We meet Will on his arrival at The Rig, where he has been sent after breaking out of previous juvenile detentions. But stranded on an oil rig in the middle of a shark-infested ocean, it seems unlikely that he will get out of this one. Not to mention the substance which the Warden is secretly harvesting that gives people special abilities. This book is packed full of mystery and suspense, and kept me turning pages till the very end. 

Character wise, it did take me a while to warm to Will. He is a loner and a bad boy, and I couldn’t really connect with him. I did feel sorry for Tristan, and I enjoyed watching his friendship with Will grow stronger. As for the other inmates, it had more of a school feel than a prison. I know this is YA so wasn’t as violent or harsh as I expected, but there was a lot of banter and pushing-in-the-halls type feeling. 

Although the ending was left open (and I think there is a sequel in the works) , it can be taken as a standalone. I left the book satisfied. I am definitely looking forward to the next one, but I don’t feel the frustration that occurs with most cliffhanger endings. So for that, I thank you Mr Ducie! 

There is a lot of a great world building, and yet I come away with lots of questions, about the world before the Rig, and the Alliance outside of it. What are the plans for this blue substance, and where is it all going? The fact that I come away wanting to know more shows that I really did enjoy the story, and I am eager to delve deeper into this world. 

Overall The Rig was an action packed thriller that kept me gripped to the very end. I can’t wait to find out more about the world surrounding the Rig, and I am behind Will, Tristan and Irene all the way. Definitely recommended for fans of boarding school novels and thrillers. 4 sofas!

Book Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse

Vivian Versus The ApocalypseVivian Versus the Apocalypse

by Katie Coyle

Published: 5th September 2013 by Hot Key Books

Version: Paperback from publisher (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…

Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been ‘left behind’, they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving ‘Believer’ gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the ‘New Orphans’, Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.

The primary reason I wanted to read this book was for the road trip. Perfect summer reads, I enjoy the character exploration that usually occurs on road trips. Aside from that, it also seemed to have another layer, relating to religion and the apocalypse.

We follow Viv as her parents are ‘taken’ after the Rapture, and she is left with her best friend to try and piece her life together. She decides to embark on a trip to discover the truth about what actually happened to her parents.

It was everything I wanted it to be, and more. It got me thinking about religion, and whether something like this could happen in the future. I think it is quite a contentious topic, so it was nice to see it tackled in a YA book. It also discussed the issue of Believers who were ‘left behind’, and whether they retained they faith throughout.

Although I don’t believe in religion personally, I am a huge believer of karma and fate.  So the book kind of spoke to me in that those left behind wondered whether it was for a reason, or if they weren’t good enough. But at the end of the day they are probably better people for it. To quote one of my favourite films, its called the pursuit of happiness for a reason. 

What I loved most about the book is Vivian herself. The personal development she undertakes on this journey is remarkable. I think it was most significant for me in the difference between the beginning, in which Peter asks her “What do you believe in?” and she cannot answer. If you compare this to her character at the end, she knows what she wants and has to make pretty tough decisions.

I wasn’t overly taken with the ending. I think it was left pretty open for a sequel, which is always frustrating! That being said, I can see why the author did it as it does suit the overall spirit of the book.

Vivian Versus the Apocalypse was a book that got me thinking about a possible future apocalypse, and also what a great excuse for a roadtrip it is!  A true tale of self discovery. 4 sofas!

Book Review: Every Day

Every DayEvery Day

by David Levithan

Published: 29th August by Egmont UK

Version: Paperback from publisher (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

As soon as I heard about this book I knew it was going to be pure gold. David Levithan’s writing evokes such emotion, and Every Day is no different. 

The book tells the story of A, who wakes up each morning in a different body. He lives out their lives, accessing memories to discover their every day routine. For A, the days blend into each other. Until he takes on the body of Justin, and he sets eyes on Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. He knows he has to do anything possible to stay in contact with her. However, this proves difficult when he has no way of telling where, or who, he will wake up tomorrow. 

As well as exploring the love for Rhiannon, A also mentions what it is like to jump between diverse groups of society. Man, woman, gay, straight, transgendered or blind, A has experienced it all. And this allows for so many questions. A notices that he receives more affection from girls when he is a cute boy as opposed to an obese one, or another girl. 

The whole question of love in terms of personality or looks is thrown on the table in this novel. David Levithan examines which is more important in society and whether long distance relationships are really possible. It gives us a huge insight into how people’s lives differ.

———————————————————————————

“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”

———————————————————————————

The only thing I think let this book down was the ending. I had a feeling how it was going to go, but that doesn’t mean I liked it! Ultimately I think this book could do with a sequel, or at least an epilogue. 

From a scientific perspective, the book opened a can of worms with questions that I want answers to. Such as where did A come from? Who are his parents? Is he human? A ghost? Could he jump from birth? Is there a way to make it stop? How exactly does he enter and exit peoples bodies? 

Every Day left me thinking about true love and the artificial nature of it all. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, the novel itself was beautifully written and took me on a journey inside myself as well as the characters in the book. Yet another David Levithan masterpiece. 4 sofas!