Laurie Halse Anderson

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #13 – Four YA Novels

Published September 4, 2017 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four YA books for you – please see my pin it thoughts below!

1.) The Impossible Knife Of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

What’s it all about?:

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

2.) Through The Ever Night – (Under The Never Sky #2) – Veronica Rossi

What’s it all about?:

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, can their love survive through the ever night?

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) Belle Epoque – Elizabeth Ross

What’s it all about?:

When sixteen-year-old Maude runs away to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Increasingly desperate for money, she answers a mysterious advert: ‘Young Women Wanted for Undemanding Work. Apply In Person To The Durandeau Agency.’ But the work is very strange indeed. Maude discovers she is to be a repoussoir – an ugly young woman hired by Parisian socialites to enhance their beauty.

Maude is humiliated – but faced with destitution, what choice does she have? Quickly (and secretly) selected as the perfect companion for the Countess Dubern’s daughter Isabelle, Maude is thrown into a decadent world full of parties, glamour and astonishing cruelty. Maude finds that academic Isabelle is equally disenchanted with the Parisian social scene, and the girls form a tight bond. But when bohemian artist Paul and the handsome Duke d’Avaray are introduced into the girls’ lives, their friendship will be tested to its limits. The girls are about to discover the true meaning of being beautiful…

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

4.) Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) – Jessica Spotswood

What’s it all about?:

A gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series!

Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship–or an early grave. Then Cate finds her mother’s diary, and uncovers a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe–not even from each other.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP NEXT ON MINI-PIN IT REVIEWS: Four Thriller Novels.

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Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson

Published December 20, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

What did I think?:

Speak is the debut novel from Laurie Halse Anderson, a truly brilliant and gifted writer and in this novel she has created a dramatic and very important story that has the potential to appeal to so many different people, not necessarily the young adult market which it was created for. Our main character is Melinda Sordino who is just about to start her first year at high school after a somewhat eventful summer (to say the least!). She was present at a house party over the summer period and called the police to break it up. The reason behind this is not explained until the middle of the novel but something happened to her at the party, something that has changed her life beyond recognition and led her to be miserable and withdrawn both at home and at school. I’m not going to reveal what happened as it could be considered a major spoiler but I did guess quite early on. However, this didn’t ruin the book for me in the slightest as when the event was recounted it was so… I want to say beautifully descriptive (which it was) but it was so hideous, awful and terribly brilliant that the words almost leapt off the page in their brutality.

The author also describes the darker side of high school very authentically as seen through the eyes of a “normal” teenager. As you can imagine, Melinda is not the most popular girl in town after breaking up a party and the popular cliques in particular make her life there a misery. So not only does she have to deal with the incident at the party but has to cope with being virtually friendless at school and as anyone who has had to deal with something like this can understand – it is truly horrible. There is one girl, Heather, who befriends her but unfortunately only until someone better or “cooler” comes along. With parents and teachers that obviously don’t understand why she seems to have had a sudden change in personality, Melinda seems doomed to be inside her own head, re-living what happened to her over and over again.

Even though as I mentioned before I guessed the secret behind “Speak,” I didn’t realise how much this book was going to affect me. The author gets inside the teenage head so beautifully and really nails the whole experience of high school with all the usual drama it provides. What did take me by surprise however was the mixture between darkness and humour, the humour especially giving a lighter tone to an otherwise disturbing subject matter. The scene where Melinda contemplates suicide was a particularly difficult passage to read but I loved that she still retained a sense of humour about other events which gave me hope for her future. As a debut novel, this is such a powerful piece of writing that should be read by everyone, young and old, male and female. I’ll certainly be checking out more of Laurie Halse Anderson’s work, she’s an amazing author who tackles tricky subjects with ease and panache and is surely destined for great things.

For my review of Laurie’s novel Wintergirls, please click HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

December 2015 – Chrissi Cupboard Month #4

Published December 19, 2015 by bibliobeth

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It’s December. And that means…. (drumroll please) it’s Chrissi Cupboard Month!

My lovely sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads gives me books on a regular basis, and as she reads at the speed of light I have had to acquire a cupboard in my bedroom purely for her books. Unfortunately, with all my other books and huge TBR pile, I’m not getting through them as fast as I’d like so I would like to dedicate the month of December to reading books purely from the Chrissi Cupboard. I will obviously be reading my short story every week and our Kid-Lit and Banned books for the month of December, but I’m hoping the majority of books will be from this cupboard. Here are the first ten I am planning to read and review:

Asking For It – Louise O’Neill

The Kiss Of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) – Mary E. Pearson

Prisoner Of Night And Fog (Prisoner Of Night And Fog #1) – Anne Blankman

Double Cross (Noughts & Crosses #4) – Malorie Blackman

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) – Lauren DeStefano

In Darkling Wood – Emma Carroll

The Impossible Knife Of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

Pointe – Brandy Colbert

Queen Of Shadows (Throne Of Glass #4) – Sarah J. Maas

As usual, I’m carrying on with a couple of series, finishing one (the Malorie Blackman) and starting others! My other Chrissi Cupboard Months so far have been pretty strong but I think this one is the strongest yet. I’m most excited for Asking For It and carrying on the Throne of Glass series as I’m absolutely smitten with it, but I have a funny feeling that I’m going to enjoy the Mary E. Pearson book a lot more than expected from what Chrissi has been gushing about it. She knows my tastes pretty well and I trust her judgement! I’ve also loved what I’ve read from Emma Carroll so far (review for Frost Hollow Hall and The Girl Who Walked On Air coming soon) so I’m very excited to read In Darkling Wood. A brilliant month ahead, wouldn’t you agree?

Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

Published December 23, 2013 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

What did I think?:

I first came across the author Laurie Halse Anderson through my sister and fellow blogger ChrissiReads who recommended it highly. On finishing it, I completely agree with her! The novel is aimed at young adults and tells the story of two girls called Lia and Cassie who compete against each other to lose weight. However, the game becomes dangerous when Cassie is found dead in a motel room yet prior to her death she had attempted to call Lia 33 times without success. The rest of the novel continues in the voice of Lia who continues to lose weight, although now the target seems to have shifted – she has to be as skinny as possible. Haunted by Cassie’s spirit and trying to deal with the difficult relationships she has with her parents lead Lia down a treacherous path where there may be no return.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as this was my first encounter with the author (although her novel Speak is all lined up ready to go now!) and I was surprised by the emotion and sheer darkness of the writing. The author does not shy away from the incredibly difficult issue of eating disorders and manages to pull off a heart-breaking, authentic account that captures the reader, drawing them in until the end. This powerful read made me experience all the emotions that our main character Lia goes through, from guilt for not picking up the phone, to confusion, doubt and determination when her eating disorder takes over the rational part of her mind. I also liked that the author touched on the issue of broken families and explored Lia’s struggles in dealing with a father that is rarely around, and a mother who put her career over everything else, including her child. I think that this would be a great book to discuss in schools, as nothing is sugar-coated and the full horror and emotional turmoil of anorexia nervosa sufferers is put out there in the open. If it helps someone who has warped views about their body image, so much the better!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

WWW Wednesday #24

Published December 11, 2013 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Hello everyone, it’s WWW Wednesday! Thanks as ever to MizB at Should Be Reading for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?

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I’m reading this book as part of a “Talking About” series I participate in with my wonderful sister ChrissiReads and am really enjoying it so far. Look out for our review at some point next week! (I think)

What did you recently finish reading?

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This was the first book of Laurie Halse Anderson’s that I’ve read, and I was really impressed! Look out for my review in a few days time.

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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I read the Man Booker prize winning novel The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga not so long ago and really enjoyed it so looking forward to checking out this one.

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit. Happy Reading Everyone!

WWW Wednesday #23

Published December 4, 2013 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Hello everyone, it’s WWW Wednesday! I haven’t been able to participate the last few weeks as I’ve been so busy but I’m in hospital for three weeks now and will definitely be less busy and able to join in.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?

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My sister the lovely ChrissiReads kindly gave me a copy of this novel, I know she really enjoyed it and so far I am too!

What did you recently finish reading?:

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This was one of my book clubs reads, I’d heard a lot about it and was expecting great things. It wasn’t that great for me unfortunately, my review should be up by the end of this week!

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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Another recommendation from my sister, I’m really looking forward to this one!

What are you reading this week? Please feel free to leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit.