Author: Amber

Monthly Wrap Up: October 2018

october

Life

October was a pretty hectic month in real life, which meant I was incredibly grateful to Past!Amber, who decided to schedule a whole month of blog posts and Youtube videos. I didn’t get around to doing many exciting things, but I was working a lot so it meant I had very little free time to blog and do Booktube. BUT! I did do some things. Quill and I went on what turned out to be our first dinner date in over a month (!), and after eating we went to the cinema. It was lovely, and we’ve decided to make an effort to not let our date nights slide that much again.

There was a fun pub quiz with my work colleagues (my team came 2nd), and I went to the Chiltern Open Air Museum for their spooky open night. That meant we watched some fire dancers (dancing to no music… it was weird), took part in a chocolate workshop, went on a spooky walk through the woods where actors jumped out at us, and met a vanishing horse.

I took part in the Spookathon for the first time ever, which was lots of fun, and as I’m writing this, we’re just getting to the end of a horror movie marathon.

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Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Vengeful by V. E. SchwabVengeful by V. E. Schwab
Series: Villains #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 25th September 2018
Publisher: Tor
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

I’ve been waiting years for Vengeful along with everyone else and I am so happy to say that it was a hit for me. I love books about people with powers, and books about horrible people (who are supposed to be horrible, anyway) so Vicious was one of my favourite books back in the day. I’d been cautiously anticipating Vengeful because I wasn’t sure if it would be as good as the first book (it wasn’t) but it was actually pretty freakin’ good.

Now, I’m sure you all have some important and pressing questions about this highly anticipated sequel, so I’m here to answer them.

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Flutter by Gina Linko

Flutter by Gina LinkoFlutter by Gina Linko
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 23rd October 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

All Emery Land wants is to be like any other 17-year-old—to go to school, hang out with her friends, and just be normal. But for as long as she can remember, she’s suffered from seizures. And in recent years they’ve consumed her life. To Emery they’re much more than seizures, she calls them loops—moments when she travels through wormholes back and forth in time and to a mysterious town. The loops are taking their toll on her physically. So she practically lives in the hospital where her scientist father and an ever-growing team of doctors monitor her every move. They’re extremely interested in the data they collect when Emery seizes. It appears that she’s tapping into parts of the brain typically left untouched by normal human beings.

Escaping from the hospital, Emery travels to Esperanza, the town from her loops on the upper peninsula of Michigan, where she meets Asher Clarke. Ash’s life is governed by his single-minded pursuit of performing good Samaritan acts to atone for the death of a loved one. His journey is very much entwined with Emery’s loops.

Drawn together they must unravel their complicated connection before it’s too late.

I don’t really have much to say about Flutter but I did say I would review it (six years ago) so here I am. Basically, it’s a really bad book. It was written in the (fairly) early days on YA, and you can tell. The plot is incredibly basic, and there is far too much focus on the romance for a science fiction book. I was promised a book about time travel, and instead I got some romance drama with a bit of paranormal thrown in. It was boring. I didn’t like it.

We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

We’ll Fly Away by Bryan BlissWe'll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 8th May 2018
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.

But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. For fans of NPR’s Serial podcast, Jason Reynolds, and Matt de la Peña.

We’ll Fly Away was absolutely devastating, but in the best way. I almost didn’t want to finish it because I knew from the beginning that the ending was going to be brutal, but at the same time I couldn’t put it down. It’s a wonderfully written book about friendship and family, and I would highly recommend it.

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Now You See Her by Lisa Leighton & Laura Stropki

Now You See Her by Lisa Leighton & Laura StropkiNow You See Her by Laura Stropki, Lisa Leighton
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 26th June 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

AMELIA has always felt like a happy life is just out of reach. Having moved every few years with her mom and sister, she’s always had a hard time making and keeping friends; there’s never enough time, and never enough money to stay in one place. And now, in her senior year, right before tennis season, Mom wants to move again.

SOPHIE has a perfectly curated, Instagram-ready life, from her first singles wins to her cute, long-term boyfriend to the beautiful, landscaped home where she lives with her parents. Though they’re tennis teammates, the two girls almost never speak.

But then one night changes everything. When Amelia’s car breaks down on the side of the road in a rainstorm, a man she thinks is a Good Samaritan pulls over to help her. When he tries to abduct her instead, she escapes into oncoming traffic.

In one inexplicable moment, Amelia and Sophie switch bodies. Amelia wakes up in Sophie’s body. Amelia’s body is in a coma. Now Amelia needs to find a way to switch back into her own life—but before that, she must retrace her steps to unravel the mystery of the accident, her attempted abduction, and how it’s all tied to her mother’s secret past.

I always find it difficult to review books that I would class as “just… okay”. There is very little to say about them and I don’t feel as though I can give an in-depth review because I have nothing of substance to say. These are the kinds of books where the characters are alright, the plot is okay, and the writing is nothing standout. There’s nothing bad about them, but there’s nothing particularly good either.

Now You See Her is one of those books. I felt like I had read the entire thing before (many, many times) and it doesn’t bring anything new to the YA world. It felt more like an episode of a TV show than a book, and nothing about it was particularly captivating.