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!

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Book Review: Pirouette

PirouettePirouette

by Robyn Bavati

Published: 8 November 2013 by Flux

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

Rating: 3 sofas

Adopted as babies by two different families, Simone and Hannah have never known they are identical twins. Simone has been raised as a dancer, but she hates performing. Hannah loves nothing more than dance, but her parents see it as just a hobby. When the two girls meet for the first time at the age of fifteen, they decide to swap places to change the role dance plays in their lives. Yet fooling their friends and family is more challenging than either girl expected, and they’re both burdened by the weight of their lies.

How long can Hannah and Simone keep pretending? What will happen when the truth is revealed?

I selected this book to read because it looked like a fun middle grade. I enjoy books and films about dancing, so this certainly sounded like a book for me.

From the blurb alone it is obvious the similarities between this and the well known film The Parent Trap (and the lesser known It Takes Two). Basically where twins are separated at birth, meet at some sort of summer camp and decide to swap lives. As a side note, I never really understood how summer camps work and how children get sent away from the parents for basically the whole summer?! Is this just an American thing? Or just something they like to emphasise in books and films? 

In an ironic way, Simone has rich parents who enroll her in a special dancing academy and push her to dance at every opportunity, but she doesn’t enjoy it. Hannah’s parents would rather she focus on her studies, but her heart is in dancing. Unfortunately she is restricted to dancing as a hobby; only after school and weekends. 

By some stroke of luck they both end up at a dancing summer camp. After conspiring they decide that Hannah should pretend to be Simone so she can join advanced classes, and tell the camp that Hannah is no longer coming so that Simone can have some time off from dancing. Both characters are equally likeable, with Hannah growing in confidence as a performer and someone with natural talent. Simone, on the other hand, is a little spoilt, and instead finds her feet in happiness away from dancing. 

However, it becomes complicated when they decide to continue their switch back home, so Hannah can attend the dancing academy and Simone can spend her time reading. But how will they adjust to life away from their family? And it becomes even more complicated when boys become involved….

Pirouette was a fun read that I sped through. It was predictable but it really showed how we take things for granted sometimes, and what it would be like to live someone else’s life. Definitely recommended for younger dancing fans; 3 sofas! 

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Book Review: Speechless

SpeechlessSpeechless

by Hannah Harrington

Published: September 2012 by Mira Ink

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

Rating: 4.5 sofas

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

I was excited to read this as I have heard nothing but good things about it. The idea seemed pretty simple; a loudmouth girl whose outbursts had serious consequences decides to take a vow of silence.

However, the story runs much deeper than that. It explores as teenagers (and adults) how easy it is to give into peer pressure. And how we convince ourselves that things we say or do aren’t really *that* bad. This book turns that all on a head, and shows that actually the little things can have dire results. And even if we might not remember it, something we say or do can have a profound effect on someone else, and therefore we should really think before we act.

The idea of taking a vow of silence baffles me. Obviously it would be totally impractical in a working day, but it is such a powerful notion in this book. It really highlights how much we rely on our voice, and different ways of expressing it. 

Although this book focusses on silence, ironically, it is also about speaking out. Chelsea is an easy target because she can’t really fight back. But does this allow her to be bullied?

Ultimately Speechless is about Chelsea’s journey of self discovery. Learning that being cool or popular doesn’t always equate with being happy. You should never have to be horrible to someone or hide your true self in order to gain friends. Asha is the personification of this; she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. And if that means she is ignored or bullied by the ‘popular’ group, then thats okay because she is true to herself.

I fell in love with Speechless. I adore issue books and this one certainly did not disappoint. It hit me a lot deeper than I expected, with the writing both emotional and beautiful. Perfect for any teenagers, it highlights the importance of standing up for yourself and not following the crowd. Highly recommended; 4.5 sofas!  

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Book Review: Acid

AcidAcid

by Emma Pass

Published: April 2013 by Random House 

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

Rating: 4.5 sofas

The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. 

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID. Seriously sinister stuff.

From the cover alone, I knew I had to read this book. It looks awesome with a powerful protagonist. I got approved on Netgalley for it around the release, but for one reason or another I never got round to it. BIG MISTAKE. I know other bloggers who absolutely adore it, and now I know why.

We meet Jenna in dystopian-Britain who has been put in jail for the murder of her parents. One of the things I love about dystopian novels is how real they can be, and scary to think that this COULD be our future. Acid does just that. In the future, ACID is the governing body, and they are not afraid to show it.

I think Jenna is one of my favourite female main characters. She has a lot of courage and spunk, especially when we learn about some of the things she has been through. Although she is continuously knocked down she never gives up, and I really admire her for that. There was a little bit of romance, but I liked that it didn’t overpower the story itself. 

The only reason I couldn’t give Acid 5 sofas was because the story was just a little too predictable. Although I think the storyline is great and there are several twists along the way, you just can’t get rid of the stereotypical dystopian storyline. As such, I kind of knew where the book was gonna end up, but its how we got there that really makes the story unique.

If Acid is a book that (like me) you didn’t read on its release, I implore you to do so now. It is original and thrilling, with plenty of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. One of the most intense debut novels of this year! 4.5 sofas.

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Top Ten: Books On my Autumn TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

The topic for today is Fall’s (Autumn’s) TBR List. For October I am going to try and eliminate as many ebooks as possible from my TBR pile. I have let them build up and it is not really fair on those authors and publishers. So I am going to try and clear my conscience before the year is out….  

Acid by Emma Pass: I’ve heard such awesome things about this one, I definitely need to read it soon. 

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess: This was hailed as one of the first major NA books without sex as a major feature. 

Keeping Her by Cora Carmack: One of my favourite authors, there is no good excuse why I haven’t already read this. 

              The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles: This sounds like a really cute contemporary and I have her second book on my shelf as well, so I need to crack on with this one. 

Speechless by Hannah Harrington: Lots of people I know adore this one. The concept sounds really interesting, but it just keeps getting pushed down my pile.  

         Acid         Brooklyn Girls          Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)

The Kissing Booth                    Speechless

There are also some print copies that I can’t wait to delve into.

Are We There Yet? by David Levithan: David Levithan, yo! Loving his books at the minute. 

Another Way to Fall by Amanda Brooke: This sounds like its gonna be very emotional, but amazing. 

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield: I have heard nothing but awesomeness about this one. 

Metawars series by Jeff Norton: The first three books in this series are sitting on my shelf, with the fourth to be released soon. This sci-fi adventure set will make a nice break from all the contemporaries!       

Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz: This sounds like a good ‘issues’ kind of books and is lovely and thin!  

                Are We There Yet?            Another Way to Fall           Friday Brown

MetaWars: Fight for the Future                      Colin Fischer

That’s the plan for my reading list, but what should I read first? Leave me some recommendations! Have you read any of these before? Link me to your TTT below!   

Letterbox Love #29

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

This week has been so hectic for me but I’ve managed to squeeze in buying a few books…     

Bought:

Soulmates by Holly Bourne

The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore

Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Flyaway by Lucy Christopher

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma

Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie

Ebooks:

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Thanks very much to Algonquin Books and Netgalley.

Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

Yay! Thanks Random House and Netgalley for this, I will sneak it in my reading list soon!

Library:

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

 Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)       If You Could Be Mine

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Book Blitz: Keeping Her

Eek! I’m so excited for Keeping Her by Cora Carmack, the continuation of Garrick and Bliss’ relationship.

Keeping Her (Losing It, #1.5)

Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren’t quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

Check out the first chapter plus some bonus Garrick POV scenes from LOSING IT.

Also, Cora Carmack is planning to donate 20% of all her royalties from this book to the charity Planting Peace for the life of the book. You can find out more about Planting Peace here:  http://www.plantingpeace.org/. Planting Peace is a progressive nonprofit organization founded for the purpose of spreading peace in a hurting world. Although the organization operates on a global level, they emphasize the power of one; the ability that each person possesses to make a difference in the world.

Author Bio

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.

http://coracarmack.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/CoraCarmackBooks

https://twitter.com/CoraCarmack

http://www.harpercollins.com/imprints/index.aspx?imprintid=518003

https://www.facebook.com/WmMorrowbks

https://twitter.com/WmMorrowBks

BUY LINKS:

 Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Giveaway

There will be two winners. One will win a set of signed copies of LOSING IT and FAKING IT and the other will win their name as a character in an upcoming novella by Cora Carmack scheduled to release in early 2014! This is an International giveaway!

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