The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

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Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher Usborne in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27809684One minute Eddie was there. And the next he was gone.

Five years on, and it’s Elsie who’s lost. All she knows is the pain she feels. Pain that her twin Eddie’s body has never been found after that day on the beach.

Then she meets Tay; confident, cool and addicted to free-diving. He says it’s too dangerous for her to join; it’s too dark, too scary, too deep. But what does he know?

He doesn’t know that being underwater is the only time Elsie doesn’t ache for her brother. That diving gives her flashbacks. And that uncovering the secrets of that day is the only way for Elsie to start breathing again.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

Ever since I heard of this book I’ve wanted to read it because the summary sounded intriguing and I just loved the sound of this novel.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy stories that feature unreliable narrators. I love such narrators so much because you can’t really trust them, but at the same time you still sympathize with them. Besides, I love solving mysteries and guessing what really happened, and that’s why The Art of Not Breathing sounded so appealing to me in the first place.

The Art of Not Breathing is, however, so much more than just a mystery story. It’s a dark tale about grief, secrets, family dysfunction and ultimately, denial. This book deals with some heavy topics such as anorexia, bullying, mental illness and adultery. Thus, The Art of Not Breathing is not your typical fluffy contemporary romance (as the cover might suggest), but rather a gloomy story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

Elsie was a relatable protagonist and I really felt for her and her family. The author did a great job portraying Elsie’s grief and the aftermath of her twin’s death. Her family has a lot of issues and therefore, there were several emotional moments in this novel that were very powerful.

The romance in this novel was cute, but not too overwhelming since The Art of Not Breathing deals with more important matters.

When Elsie gets to know Tay she soon begins to love free-diving because being underwater gives her flashbacks. And Elsie believes that these flashbacks might lead her to the truth, she thinks that she will finally uncover the secrets surrounding her twin’s death. And although I loved to read about these flashbacks (because I wanted to uncover these secrets just as much as Elsie), I still found that Elsie was very reckless and was doing a very dangerous thing. Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading about free-diving because I have never read books about this sport before.

All in all The Art of Not Breathing was an emotional and suspenseful novel featuring some very realistic and well-drawn protagonists. As I mentioned above, the book deals with some heavy issues and has some shocking twists in store for you. Therefore, I really recommend this book to everyone who enjoys YA psychological thrillers and mysteries.

Rating:

4 out 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Usborne Publishing for sending me this great book for review!

Andreea

The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

229262001Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

So a few weeks ago I discovered Epic Reads on Youtube and ever since I’ve been adding books to my Goodreads to be read list. The Lifeboat Clique was pretty high on my list and I really wanted to read this book because it sounded funny, despite its somehow morbid theme. I mean – we’re talking about a tsunami hitting the coast of California and causing devastation resulting in many deaths. It’s a tragic thing to happen of course, but the author still managed to tell a funny story revolving around mean girls, survival and friendship.

The main protagonist, Denver, is a teenager who isn’t really popular in school (okay, who am I kidding – she’s actually an outcast). She once was best friends with Abigail (who is now one of the cool kids), but something happened between them a while ago, thus causing their friendship to rupture.

Since Denver has a crush on a popular boy named Croix, she decides to sneak into a beach house party hosted by her now enemy and former BFF Abigail because she hopes to spend some time with Croix. However, Denver doesn’t really get to spend that much time with her crush because a tsunami hits the beach house, washing away everything. Most of Denver’s schoolmates lose their lives, but Denver, along with some popular kids, luckily manage to rescue themselves. Well, Denver doesn’t really think she was lucky, after all she’s stuck with some mean girls and a jock who constantly like to point out that she’s an outcast. Now these survivors need to learn to work together if they want to live and they need to stop judging each other.

As I mentioned before, The Lifeboat Clique was still a funny book, despite the tragedy that occurred at the beginning of the novel. There were so many anecdotes and hilarious moments that I just had to laugh out loud a couple of times. The author has perfectly managed to capture the voices of teenagers and the conversations between the protagonists felt very real and authentic. The writing style was entertaining and the story was very easy to follow. That’s why I read The Lifeboat Clique in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down and wanted to know how the story would end and who would really survive.

Denver was a clever, funny and relatable character and I could totally identify with her. I felt sad for her because I can imagine what it must have felt like to be abandoned like that by her former best friend. The story alternated between past and present and that way, we could find out how Denver and Abigail’s friendship has changed over time and what ultimately caused its downfall.

I loved how the story evolved, I loved how at some point the mean kids understood how important it is to work together and that they realized how clever Denver was and that they needed her in order to survive.

All in all The Lifeboat Clique was a fresh story about high school outcasts, mean girls and high school hierarchy. It was an entertaining story featuring a witty heroine and an addictive narrative full of dark humor. I really recommend this novel if you like funny books revolving around high school drama!

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars

Andreea

My favorite Bookstagrammers

I don’t know about you, but I love #bookstagram (the book community on Instagram). I love looking at beautiful book pictures, liking awesome photos and leaving comments. Through #bookstagram I’ve discovered some fantastic books, made some great friends and started to read a lot more. And since there are some amazing bookish accounts I follow on Instagram, I thought I’d share them with you (in no particular order):

Twirlingpages

I just recently discovered Alexandra’s #bookstagram account and what can I say? I’m in love with it. I love the filters she uses and the fact that she’s a ballet dancer because some of her pictures feature ballet related things. And I’m kind of obsessed with ballet (no, I’ve never danced, but I just love everything ballet related. Yes, I know, I’m weird).

Myriad

Jen’s account is also very beautiful because she takes such artistic photos of her books and I just love her feed!

Madame

Michelle’s account is really special because I’ve been following it for so long and I’ve watched it grow. Plus, she also lives in Germany and that’s awesome since I’m from Germany as well. And can we please take a moment and talk about the cute cat pictures? I mean, who doesn’t love cats? I absolutely love seeing them!

Teenbooksdaily

I’ve been following Jennifer’s account for a long time as well and I just adore her beautiful pictures. And look at that sweet dog! Isn’t he a total cutie?

Zeilenverliebt

And yet another German account that I absolutely love because Laura takes such beautiful pictures of her books and interacts wonderfully with her followers!

So these were some of my favorite #bookstagram accounts! If you don’t know them yet, please check them out because I’m sure you’ll also fall in love with them!

I will be probably having more posts like this in the future since I love discovering new #bookstagram accounts. Who are your favorite bookstagrammers? Please let me know in the comments below.

Andreea

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1) by Amy Ewing

160687801The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time now and when I saw it on Amazon Kindle the other day I just had to buy it because it was really cheap.

I didn’t really have high expectations regarding this book though since I’ve heard many negative things about it. Still, I wanted to read it because I wanted to find out for myself if The Jewel was really that bad.

Now that I have read this novel I can say that it did not disappoint me, but it wasn’t a perfect read either.

What bothered me was the romance – I didn’t really care much about it since I wasn’t a big fan of Ash. Also, it was kind of insta-lovish and I’m not really a fan of insta-love.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that The Jewel tried too much to be the next The Hunger Games. There was this side character named Lucien who reminded me so much of Cinna that it was just annoying. Then the Surrogates have their own version of District Twelve’s salute. And there are other similarities between The Jewel and The Hunger Games and it really bothered me because I wanted to read something original, not some story that has already been told.

Still, there were things that I liked about this book as well. For example the descriptions of the facillities where the girls lived before becoming Surrogates. Or the fact that Violet played the cello. Or the whole drama regarding the royal families. I also liked the world building and the whole idea of this book even though some parts of the world building could have been better explained in my opinion.

The plot twist and the mean cliffhanger at the end of The Jewel made me realize that I do want to read the sequel The White Rose because I just want to find out how the story continues, despite the problems I had with this novel.

All in all The Jewel was an interesting read that definitely entertained me because I was intrigued by the whole concept of the Surrogates who lived in a dystopian world and had to endure such cruelties.

My rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Andreea

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

Disclaimer: I received this ebook for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—was convinced that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.

As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

Kassidy Voinche mentioned this book in one of her book hauls and since the cover and the plot intrigued me I really wanted to read it and review it as well.

And I’m glad I did because the story was interesting and cute, and the writing style was to my liking.

However, I hoped it would be more romantic, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. Sure, Emma loves Lucas so much that she would do anything in order to be with him. But Lucas isn’t really Lucas when he wakes up and for the most part of the book Emma spends time with this other boy who is inside her boyfriend’s body. And there is no romance between them of course, only friendship. As Emma tries to save her boyfriend, she embarks on a very dangerous journey and this journey was very interesting and suspenseful.

The idea of the book was not new or unique, but I still enjoyed reading From a Distant Star because I totally love such sci-fi stories involving other planets, aliens and so on.

All in all From a Distant Star was definitely an entertaining read about friendship and the power of love. The novel was suspenseful and intriguing, though it lacked romance in my opinion.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

Andreea

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Disclaimer: I received this ARC for free from the publisher Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari’s boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

I requested this book because I liked the sound of it and because I hoped it would be like We Were Liars, which is one of my favorite books.

And even though it wasn’t as great as We Were Liars I still enjoyed The Cost of All Things because it was mysterious and suspenseful.

The whole idea of the dangerous spells that come with side effects was very intriguing and I loved reading about them. I wanted to know more about them, how they come about, how they actually work, but unfortunately, the author doesn’t explain them 100% and that’s really a pity.

The novel is told from different perspectives and while I am not a big fan of such books, I must admit that this concept worked very well in The Cost of All Things. That way, we learned a lot about the friendships in this novel, about the inner thoughts of the main characters and about Win himself, even though he died.

If you’re looking for romance, then you’ll probably be disappointed because this novel doesn’t concentrate on romance, but more on friendships and other things. But I didn’t really mind because while I was reading The Cost of All Things I didn’t really miss the romance since I was interested in finding out how the friendships will develop.

All in all I really enjoyed The Cost of All Things because it was definitely suspenseful, mysterious and the plot was really intriguing, with the whole concept of different spells and their consequences. Unfortunately, the spells weren’t really explained and that’s why I didn’t give this novel a higher rating.

Rating:

3.5 – 4 out of 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me this great review copy!

Andreea

Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

Disclaimer: I received this ARC for free from the publisher Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Claire LaZebnik’s latest twist on a beloved classic asks the age old question: Could the girl who knows everything be wrong about the guy?

As the stepdaughter of a TV star, Ellie Withers has it all: an amazing house in LA, a devoted friend who loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and a burgeoning romance with handsome Aaron Marquand. But Ellie isn’t the kind of person who’s content with simply having it all—the people in her life have to be equally happy. And, of course, she knows exactly what they need.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all. Most surprising, though, is that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expect.

With her signature witty narration and swoon-worthy romance, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story: Jane Austen’s Emma.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

Since I read Epic Fail a while ago and really enjoyed it I wanted to read Claire LaZebnik’s new book as well because it seemed like a cute read, just as Epic Fail was.

And I was right – Wrong About the Guy was also a very sweet and cute YA contemporary that I read really fast and enjoyed.

I liked the main protagonist Ellie because she was smart and snarky. Yes, she seemed a little spoiled, but I could understand why, given the circumstances. Still, she was very likable and therefore, it was easy to identify with her.

George was cute and seemed like a very nice guy and it took Ellie a while to realize it, but when she did and took action, it was all very sweet.

It was fun to read about Ellie’s lifestyle, about her parents and her best friend Heather. I really enjoyed the setting of this book and liked the plot of the novel. The similarities between Wrong About the Guy and Jane Austen’s Emma were very easy to spot and I really enjoyed Claire LaZebnik’s modern spin on Jane Austen’s popular novel.

All in all this novel was really fun and I really enjoyed it because the protagonists were likable and the story was really cute.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me this great review copy!

Andreea

Rambling Post

Hello everyone!

First of all, I wanted to apologize for not updating this blog in the past few weeks. As you might know I moved and thus, there were all kinds of things that kept me busy.

Also, some of you know that I also have a German book blog and since I’m receiving many German review copies I am kind of more active on my German blog. And I feel bad about it because I love my English blog just as much and I don’t want to neglect it, especially since I prefer reading in English anyway.

Anyway, I hope you all understand. I am really going to try to be more active here too. And I am also sorry for not visiting your book blogs either. I feel so bad about it.

Even with the move and everything, I still managed to actually read a lot in April. Which makes me happy of course. I have found some new favorites and read some pretty great books!

Some of you might know that I tried reading Throne of Glass last year (or was it in 2013? – I don’t remember) and that I wasn’t in the mood for it, so I never actually finished the book.

But since my friend was constantly raving about this series (and probably everyone on the planet who has read these books), I thought I’d give this book another try. And guess what happened – I ended up loving it of course and needless to say, it’s now one of my favorite books! I then bought the sequel and loved it even more!

Now I have a problem – I’m on a book buying ban (again), but I want Heir of Fire really bad, I need it like yesterday. I am Team Chaol by the way. What about you?

Also, Sarah J. Maas has published another book, A Court of Thorns and Roses and of course I want it too.

And I also want Jenny Han’s P.S. I Still Love You because I finally read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s also a new favorite of mine. That ending was so mean and I need the sequel too!

So yeah, I don’t know what to do. I want all these books so I am probably going to have to break my ban (again).

What about you? What are you currently reading? Have you read ACOSTAR yet? Are you also on a ban?

Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. And again, sorry for neglecting this blog lately. I really feel bad about it!

Andreea

The Memory Key by Liana Liu

Disclaimer: I received this ARC for free from the publisher Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. However, this fact does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.

But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?

Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology.

Source: Goodreads

My thoughts:

I was so intrigued by the sound of this book because as you might know I really love sci-fi books and since the summary sounded so good, I had high hopes for The Memory Key.

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. I just didn’t care about the main character because I couldn’t connect with her. She was too annoying and childish for my taste. She didn’t speak her mind and constantly complained about things but didn’t do much to change them. The romance (if you can call it that way) was so disappointing that I lost interest in the main protagonists really fast.

The plot wasn’t that bad and I wanted to find out what happened to Lora’s mother but when we finally did find out about it I wasn’t shocked or surprised as I should have been. I didn’t like her mother at all and I didn’t like the relationship between Lora’s family members either. Everything seemed so cold between them and I just couldn’t connect with anyone.

The only thing I liked about The Memory Key was the whole idea of the memory keys and the world building.

Other than that I was disappointed by this novel because I just wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters or the story.

My rating:

2.5 out of 5 stars

Note: I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me this review copy!

Andreea