Book Review: When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Raziel Reid)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Atom

Pages: 176

Release Date: February 14th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

School is just like a film set: there’s The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn’t fit in. He’s not part of The Crew because he isn’t about to do anything unless it’s court-appointed; he’s not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he’s not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn’t invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire.

Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It’s a total train wreck!

But train wrecks always make the front page.

Review:

I have to say, when I read this I didn’t realise it was inspired by a true story, and that makes me a little more sympathetic to it. I have since done some research into the events that inspired it and the book itself, as it seems there’s been some controversy around it due to its vulgar language/sexualised imagery. There is a lot of bad language and sexual references, which didn’t really bother me too much, as I think that kind of thing does have a place in YA literature, but I understand that’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

I had a few problems with this book, one of them being the age of the characters. To me, they read as fairly old teenagers, around the 17/18 mark. From what I’ve gathered though, I think they are actually Grade 8, which is around the 14 year old mark. This just doesn’t feel right when the main character, Jude, is getting drunk/taking drugs frequently and his best friend is having constant sex and abortions. I’ve been a teenager, I know that kind of thing can happen, but I didn’t know anyone doing that when we were 14…

I also found the writing style generally distracting/difficult to read. Jude as a character was difficult to relate to: he read just like a character rather than an actual person, and I was constantly aware that I was reading a book, if that makes sense. The constant metaphor of Jude’s life being a movie got very distracting and I just didn’t enjoy the style at all.

I really wanted to enjoy this book but it just wasn’t for me. I can see why others might enjoy it though, and it is a pretty powerful read with a shock ending, especially if you don’t know the real life events it’s based on. The bullying of anyone based on their sexuality or the way they dress is never acceptable and shouldn’t lead to such tragic consequences, but for me there are better books that deal with the subject.

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36 Weeks and Counting

I can’t believe I’m actually posting about being 36 weeks pregnant. It feels crazy that we’ve got this far, and are so close to the end now!

We’ve been pretty busy, especially in the last week or so. Last weekend we moved house, from Milton Keynes back to Coventry. It was pretty stressful, possibly even more so because I wasn’t allowed near the move – Nathan sent me away to my mom’s house so that I wouldn’t stress out or lift anything too heavy. Which makes sense, I know, but I couldn’t help being stressed from afar!

Whilst at my mom’s I had a surprise baby shower, which was really lovely. It was just a little family thing, with my sisters and some aunts and cousins. We had food and played games and got some lovely little presents for both me and the Little Moore, and I was very touched.

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Fast forward a week and I was suddenly surprised with a second baby shower! This one was all my best friends, some who live quite close and others who travelled from where I used to live in Wales, which I really appreciated. Again, we got some adorable presents and just chatted and had a really lovely time. I’m so grateful to Nathan and my best friend Eli for organising it, and for keeping it secret all that time, as I really had no idea!

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Now we’re focussing on getting the house unpacked and ready for baby’s arrival. I only have 4 days left at work, which is pretty exciting. I’m preparing myself to expect birth from any day now really – my sister had hers 3 weeks early so I’m trying to be prepared and feel ready for anything!

This could be my last pregnancy update, depending on when Little Moore arrives. I’ve really enjoyed keeping these updates, for my sake more than anything else, as it’s like a little diary I can look back on 🙂 I’d like to still post some baby related posts after birth, but we’ll see how it goes.

Book Review: The Sleeping Prince (Melinda Salisbury)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 336

Release Date: February 4th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

 

Review:

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Sleeping Prince today. I loved The Sin Eater’s Daughter this time last year and was super excited to get my hands on the sequel. Big thank you to Faye Rogers and Scholastic for sending me a copy of the book and letting me be a part of the tour 🙂

Let’s start off with a cover gush – OMGitisgorgeous!! – because it is stunning and deserves all the praise in the world. This series has by far the best covers ever for me, I simply adore them.

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Of course, a beautiful cover doesn’t make a wonderful book, and after enjoying The Sin Eater’s Daughter  so much I was worried about how I’d find the sequel, especially as I’d gathered it didn’t directly follow on Twylla’s story from where the last book left off.

Of course, I should have had more faith in Melinda Salisbury and I shall never be a doubter again, because I bloody loved this book. It’s got the same star rating as the last one (I don’t go higher than 5) but I honestly felt like I enjoyed this book even more than the first. I think it was probably just the joy of being in the world again – I love the fairy tale aspects, and exploring more of the world this time, and through someone else’s eyes.

Errin is a brilliant protagonist and I really felt for her as she tried desperately to keep together her crumbling family. I love having to face the question of how far would you go to protect your family, and Errin has to make some tough choices here. There’s still some romance in this book, but less so than in the first, and no pesky love triangle, so I was more than happy. The Sleeping Prince is a villain to rival the Queen from the first book – I’m not sure which I’d rather have to face, though I think the Prince’s cruelty just tips it for me. He’s seriously evil.

This is a real page turner and you can’t help but getting sucked in straight away – it’s one of those “I’ll just read one more chapter…” books and before you know it you’ve almost finished and are about to miss your train stop. The imagery is beautiful, the writing just flows and the characters are fully fleshed out people that you really care about.

For those who, like me, loved the first book, then I assure you this is the perfect follow up. And if you’ve yet to read either then I urge you to now – they’re both seriously brilliant. I can’t wait to see what comes next (but I guess I’ll have to suffer through another year before the sequel comes out – boo hoo 🙁 )

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About Melinda Salisbury

Melinda Salisbury Latest Headshot (1) When not working on her next novel, Melinda Salisbury is busy reading and travelling, both of which are now more addictions than hobbies.

To find out more about Melinda check out here website – www.melindasalisbury.com Or why not follow her on twitter – @ahintofmystery

Blog Tour

You can catch up with the rest of The Sleeping Prince tour here:

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Monday 1st February – Music, Books and Tea

Tuesday 2nd February – Tales of Yesterday

Wednesday 3rd February – The Bibliophile Chronicles

Thursday 4th February – Jess Hearts Books & Uncorked Thoughts

Friday 5th February – Maia and a Little Moore

Saturday 6th February – Bookish Outsiders

Sunday 7th February – The Book Moo

Monday 8th February – Mia in Narnia

Tuesday 9th February – So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday 10th February – Emma’s Bookery

Thursday 11th February – The Books Bandit

Friday 12th February – Big Book Little Book

Saturday 13th February – The Reading Fangirl

Sunday 14th February – Literary-ly Obsessed

Book Review: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl (Melissa Keil)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Little Tiger Group

Release Date: February 11th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery, and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends.

The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details:

Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared.
And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails.
And even her latest comic-book creation is misbehaving.

Also, the world might be ending – which is proving to be awkward.

As Doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

Review:

This book has just about the best relationship/romance going – I freaking adored it.

So the end of the world stuff isn’t really a big feature in the book – sure it’s a bit of a catalyst to some of the character’s actions (“if this is our last few days then we should…” etc) but at its heart this is a story about growing up and knowing where you’re going. It reminded me a little of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, in the way that all the weird stuff that’s happening is really background info, and the main focus is the characters.

And what characters we have here! I seriously loved them all, they were so vivid and relatable, and it made the book really easy to read. Alba especially is one the finest protagonists I’ve read in a while: I loved that she wasn’t the prettiest or the skinniest person around but she was comfortable with who she was, and that was great. All her talk of super heroes and graphic novels just sang to me too – I read a few myself, but my partner is really into them, and it just reminded me of him sometimes and made me smile.

The relationship between Alba and Grady was the sweetest thing. In just a few pages you really had a sense of the closeness of their friendship, and that only developed throughout the book. I felt like I’d known them forever. And I have to say, though I’m not usually a big fan of romance stories (I usually prefer friendship ones) I have never rooted for a couple to get together like I did for them – and you’ll just have to read it to find out if they do 😉

This is a perfect book for readers in that awkward time when they’re having to make decisions that can affect the rest of their lives – I want to get my sister to read it as she’s freaking out about A level choices and how they’re going to affect uni choices and such. The overall message is a good one too – you do what is best for you, whether that’s staying in your small town or getting as far away as possible, and you don’t halt your dreams for some guy (I can’t stress that enough!)

I adored this book and I hope you will too.

Copy of an art exhibit