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These Things I’ve Done by Rebecca Phillips

These Things I’ve Done by Rebecca PhillipsThese Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 1st August 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Before:
Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.

After:
It's been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn't racked with guilt over her role in her best friend's death. Dara thought nothing could be worse than confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it isn't half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey's brother, every day. Not just because he's a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she's betraying her best friend one final time.
 

I hadn’t read anything by Rebecca Phillips before I read These Things I’ve Done, so I took a chance on an unknown (to me) author and it paid off massively. These Things I’ve Done is a tough subject matter. Dara, the main character, returns to her hometown after having spent a year away. Dara spent the past year away from hometown because she accidentally killed her best friend.

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Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland

Hello, Sunshine by Leila HowlandHello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 11th July 2017
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying. 

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill? 

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a sunny, fun, fluffy YA contemporary, ya know? I was in one of those moods when I requested this book, even though recently I’ve been avoiding YA contemporary like the plague. I have my reasons. Don’t judge. I hoped to just lost myself in Hello, Sunshine and pretend I lived in Los Angeles for a bit because the English weather has been a bit crappy this week, and lose myself I did.

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

As I Descended by Robin TalleyAs I Descended by Robin Talley
Release Date: 6th September 2016
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

Talley’s books have been very hit and miss with me so far. I adored Lies We Tell Ourselves, but her second book, What We Left Behind, didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I’d been looking forward to As I Descended, though, because I liked the idea of a genre switch-up. Thankfully, I did really like the book. I didn’t love it, but it was good.

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The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi HeiligThe Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th February 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

The Girl From Everywhere was one of my favourite books of 2016, so as soon as I saw this beauty available to review, I nabbed it. I waited a little while to read it because I have been in the worst reading slump of all time, and I wanted to make sure I was a) in the mood to read fantasy, and b) prepared to give it my utmost attention. I’m kind of glad I waited so long, because the way this one ended leaves so much room for a sequel that I’m pretty sure is coming. Or, at least, some sort of follow up story. Because that ending was not okay.

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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone by Julie EshbaughIvory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Thoughts before reading this book: Prehistoric world? Fantasy? Sign me up!

Thoughts after reading this book: Oh. Well. That was disappointing.

Is just one book that ticks all of my prehistoric/dinosaur nerd boxes too much to ask for? Apparently so. I was so, so excited about Ivory and Bone before I read it because I’m all for prehistoric settings. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with the way the book is written, and I didn’t care for any of the characters. Bit of a downer.

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