4 stars

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far From the Tree by Robin BenwayFar From the Tree by Robin Benway
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 3rd October 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Having never read anything by Benway before, I had no expectations before I started Far From the Tree. To be honest, I only clicked on it because I liked the cover, and then after reading that the book is about adopted siblings, I thought it had potential. I’m really glad that I requested this one for review, because otherwise I don’t think I would have read it. And it’s a really good story, so I would have been missing out.

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Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn HamiltonTraitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 2nd February 2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince's message has spread across the desert - and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible.

Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl's instinct for survival. For the Sultan's palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper's nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive... But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani's past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

Rebel of the Sands was a kickass debut with some fantastic characters in an immersive fantasy setting. I was awaiting the release of Traitor to the Throne with baited breath, even during my reading slump from hell in the latter half of 2016. I hadn’t read any reviews for Traitor to the Throne before picking it up so I had no idea what to expect other than sheer awesomeness.

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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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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny HanAlways and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Series:
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 2nd May 2017
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
 

I’ve been a massive fan of this trilogy from the start, but I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the third instalment. It’s not that I was dreading it, but I didn’t think the series really needed to be a series. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a cute standalone, ya know? But regardless, I read the sequels because I’m a huge Jenny Han fan (is there a name for us? There should be.) and I ended up enjoying them both. Continue reading

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari LapenaThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 14th July 2016
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing. You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

I read The Couple Next Door in one sitting after weeks and weeks of battling through a reading slump. Apparently all I needed was a really good thriller. Who knew? I’m really happy with the way this turned out, so much so that I’ve pre-ordered Lapena’s next thriller so I can read it right away when it comes out later this month.

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