ARC Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)

Release Date: July 2 2015

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

In a stunning literary debut, two boys on opposite ends of the world begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives forever.

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.

My Review

Disclaimer: This ARC was provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

It was refreshing to read something featuring characters with voices that made them feel so real to me. Each chapter of the book was a letter from either Ollie or Moritz. They would describe their past and present and often banter with each other. I loved it. I absolutely loved it.

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Both of the characters are struggling with a kind-of disability that prevents them from “fitting in” with “normal” people. Ollie is allergic to electricity and Moritz has a pacemaker. They’re the opposite of each other in almost every way. Ollie is loud and cheerful and extroverted in his letters while Moritz is a bit more hesitant and eloquent. But the fact that by society’s standards they aren’t normal, is what brings them together.

I don’t think I could have picked a favorite! I loved Ollie because he chose to live in the best ways he knew. Despite having seizures when he came in contact with electricity, he still did the craziest things like running at a powerline. Moritz was equally fascinating because he didn’t have eyes but could see the world around him using echolocation. I felt for him more than Ollie because while Moritz had the opportunity to go to school and experience things Ollie might never get to, Moritz also had to deal with bullies and classmates who avoided him because of how he looked.

So while this book initially seemed to be a contemporary, it did contain some sci-fi elements (like the narrators’ strange conditions). I was okay with that. In fact it intrigued me and I felt like it made the premise even more unique and different. But what I do feel the need to point out is that this book isn’t a 100% realistic contemporary. 

The best part about this book would probably be the characters. They took this book to the next level and if you like me, are all about the characters then read this. Fyi, I think the plot is great but not amazing so if you’re looking for something with more action in it, then this isn’t the book for you.

ARC Review: Inherit The Stars by Tessa Elwood

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Publisher: Running Press Kids

Release Date: December 8th 2015

Genre: Sci-Fi, YA

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

My Review

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Running Press Kids via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The book starts off with Asa and Wren on a jet and Asa is desperate to get her sister to safety. They’re on a quarantined planet and Asa is worried her sister will die because she removed a chip which is supposed to keep her alive. From there the book only gets better!

The book is fast-paced and brimming with politics and conflict. The world-building is great considering how complex the world is. The plot could have been simplified a bit because it wasn’t always easy to keep track of what was happening but in the end, I was never bored.

In terms of characters, this book didn’t disappoint me too much. At first I found Asa frustrating because she behaved like a child. She made bad decisions but didn’t know how to handle the consequences. I just wanted to give her a shake and remind her that even though she wasn’t starving, other people WERE! However, her character grew a lot in the course of the book and I was honestly impressed. I also liked how she didn’t recoil from Eagler (her husband) because he’s scarred.

Asa’s sister, Emmeline, on the other hand, was pretty awful. At first she kept acting condescending and only seemed to care about herself. (I was shocked by how cold-heartedly she reacts when their father suggests unplugging Wren (her sister who is in a coma).) It was unrealistic and unnatural how put together she behaved. But then she made a truly idiotic decision that almost ruins everything! 

But the rest of the characters weren’t that well developed. There are so many minor characters but we don’t get to know most of them that well. I wanted to know them but I barely understood them.

This book did keep me on my toes, though, always anticipating what would happen next. Most of the time the book wouldn’t disappoint and there were some good plot twists thrown in too…which is why I recommend it if you’re looking for a new dystopian/sci-fi to read.

DNF Review: A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride

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Publisher: Egmont USA

Release Date: July 28 2015

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Rating: 2 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

A teen Sliding Doors. One choice creates parallel dual narratives in this romantic contemporary mystery-thriller perfect for fans of Just Like Fate and Pivot Point.

One Night. Two Paths. Infinite Danger.

On the night of the big Spring Break party, Hadley “borrows” her boyfriend Ben’s car without telling him. As payback, he posts a naked picture of her online for the entire senior class to see.

Now Hadley has a choice: go back to the party and force Ben to delete the picture or raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get.

Chapters alternate to reveal each possible future as Hadley, her ex-boyfriend, Josh, and her best friends embark on a night of reckless adventure where old feelings are rekindled, friendships are tested, and secrets are uncovered that are so much worse than a scandalous photo.

My Review

Disclaimer: This ARC was provided by Egmont USA via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was expecting something dark and edgy and this book did not deliver.

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Basically, Hadley borrows her boyfriend’s car without telling him so he posts a naked picture of her on Facebook. Then Ben, the asshole boyfriend, calls her up and announces that he’ll take down the picture if she returns his car. At this point, the storyline diverges because Hadley (the main character) has two choices: return the car or steal it and go for a joy-ride. What’s a girl to do right? Well apparently we get to find out the pros and cons of each of these options because both of these possibilities are explored in alternating chapters. (Don’t bother asking me why this is the case because I have absolutely no clue..especially as it doesn’t really go anywhere!)

Then there’s the fact that the main character seriously pissed me off. I just did not get the skewed logic behind half of her decisions…and while she was all determined to do something, nothing actually happens. (I mean I don’t even understand why she thinks committing a crime is the best way to take revenge..and her naked photo is still floating around the internet! It’s like Hadley thinks avoiding her problems will make them go away.) I kept anticipating drama but got nothing. To be honest, her friends didn’t really interest me that much either.

So somewhere along the way, I decided not to finish this book. It wasn’t for me but if you’re interested, you should still give it a go!

DNF Review: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan

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Publisher: Full Fathom Five

Release Date: May 20th 2015

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA

Rating: 2.5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

My Review

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Full Fathom Five Digital via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So I was kind-of excited about this book and when I initially started reading, I thought I would probably end up finishing this ARC and giving it at-least 4 stars. But my excitement slowly petered out and I realized that I didn’t want to finish this book.

The main character annoyed me. Milena, the MC who is pretending to be a girl named Alexandra Gastone, tells us everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like getting a peek inside the MC’s head and seeing how they function. But this was literally inner monologues every five minutes. She questions her decisions, her plans for the future, feelings toward a friend…and it was too much. I thought this was a thriller so I expected a lot more action.

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Overall, it just didn’t feel that interesting to me. The premise swept me off my feet but there wasn’t enough action to hold my attention. I feel like a bit of a black sheep actually because there are so many positive reviews about this book but this book just wasn’t for me. (I’m not even sure exactly where I stopped reading but I think I got through about half of the book before deciding to ditch.)