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Reviews Written by
Ashleigh Allsopp "Ashleigh" (UK)

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
by Jenny Han
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Charming contemporary YA romance that takes an unexpected turn that I really enjoyed., 25 Jun. 2016
This is such a fun novel, I had a right giggle reading it. The idea that six letters I’d written to past loves actually ended up in their hands horrifies me, so I was captivated by the concept from the get go. It’s fluffy and girly as I’d expected, but actually it’s more than that thanks to its endearing and relatable set of characters.

I loved reading about Lara’s family dynamic here too, particularly between the three sisters. Their sometimes fragile bond is honest and genuine, and I thought Jenny Han portrayed the impact of their mum’s death, Margot’s absence and their slightly unusual age gaps brilliantly well.

I also loved that everything didn’t quite pan out the way you expected it to with regards to Peter and Josh, which is quite rare in a contemporary YA romance so a very welcome change. I can’t wait to revisit these characters in PS I Still Love You soon.


Craft UK 100 Ivory Cream Off White Coloured Recycled A4 Sheets 250gsm Card Craft Cardstock
Craft UK 100 Ivory Cream Off White Coloured Recycled A4 Sheets 250gsm Card Craft Cardstock
Offered by CoinGallery
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 13 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used this card for my wedding invitations. It's excellent quality and just the right thickness for our RSVP postcards but also for the insert i stuck into our folded card invites too. To start with, I thought I'd been sent the wrong card but it's important to note that the label says "white" and it is a very light off-white/cream colour, but on closer inspection I realised it's perfect. Not too yellowy like some other cream or ivory card I've seen.


Beyond Clueless
Beyond Clueless
by Linas Alsenas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fast read with some important tales to tell., 13 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Beyond Clueless (Hardcover)
This fun and fast read is a perfect holiday novel, filled with quirky characters that’ll have you giggling away. I can’t say it comes close to making its way into my all-time favourites, but it’s an enjoyable read with some important messages nonetheless.

You’ll first think that the instalove is pretty painful, but be patient because as the story unfolds, you’ll find that Linas makes up for things later with a great twist that I thought was brilliantly thought-provoking.

I found some of the characters quite difficult to connect with, and I wonder whether that’s because there are so many in what’s a reasonably short novel, but I did really enjoy the school play theme and the unexpected ending.


The Heir (The Selection, Book 4) (The Selection Series)
The Heir (The Selection, Book 4) (The Selection Series)
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive new story that’ll propel you straight back into the world we all fell in love with in The Selection, 30 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Note, there are The Selection spoilers from the get go in this review so don’t read on if you intend to read the series but haven’t yet!

Oh how I loved returning to this world. The Selection is one of my all-time favourite trilogies, a complete guilty pleasure that I have unashamedly recommended to everyone I can, including fellow ‘grown ups’.

So when The Selection ended, I was petty devastated that I wouldn’t be spending more time with America, Maxon, Aspen and co. And although that’s still the case, I am so glad that I got to catch a glimpse of them again in The Heir, and better yet got to fall in love with a whole new set of characters including their daughter, who finds herself hosting a selection of her own. The tables are turned, and this time we get to witness the princess try to find a match from a batch of gorgeous boys.

Eadlyn is stubborn, she’s frustrating and she’s in some ways pretty spoilt, so it did take me some time to get used to her, but she also goes through a transformation that’s a joy to read as she opens her eyes and begins to understand what its like to live in the real world.

I know that the cliffhanger ending has got some people all riled up about this book, but I actually quite like a cliffhanger! Crazy, I know. It has simply made me super-excited to read the second (and as far as I’m aware final) book in the series.

Kiera Cass has once again captured my heart with this one. The Selection trilogy will always be my favourite because that’s where it all began, but The Heir certainly lived up to my expectations. I loved it.


The Thing about Jellyfish
The Thing about Jellyfish
by Ali Benjamin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, expertly written novel that you’ll devour in one sitting., 21 May 2016
This book is so, so beautiful to read. I raced through it on a Sunday morning and didn’t get out of bed until I’d finished it. 13-year-old Suzy’s desperate story will tug on your heartstrings and really make you think about how the loss of a friend can affect a human, particularly children and teenagers.

Suzy just can’t accept that Franny died whilst swimming on a family holiday, because she was always such a great swimmer. She chooses not to speak unless absolutely necessary as she goes on a mission to show everyone that Franny’s tragic death wasn’t as straight forward as it seemed. It just seems so unfair for a good swimmer to drown, so Suzy is determined to prove that a sea creature caused her death instead.

What I loved about this book is that, despite the lack of conversation in this novel due to Suzy’s selective speaking, Suzy is one of the most chatty, funny and charming characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. She narrates this story and fills it with fascinating facts that manage to enhance the story rather than distract from it, and I completely adored it.

Ali Benjamin’s writing style is perfect, and I would recommend The Thing About Jellyfish to everyone, particularly parents and teachers.


The Square Root of Summer
The Square Root of Summer
by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary novel about loss and grief with a splash of sci-fi that just didn’t quite work for me., 21 May 2016
The Square Root of Summer is story that highlights how the loss of a loved one can impact every aspect of your life, and the importance of family in times like these. Overall, I thought that the portrayal of grief was heart-breakingly honest, and I felt a real connection with Gottie and her family, and even with Grey, the grandfather Gottie is mourning. Each character has a brilliant quirkiness about them, including Gottie’s German father and her carefree brother.

I did struggle to get to grips with the time travel element to the whole thing, though. Gottie can’t explain why, but she keeps skipping back in time to moments of her past, reliving them as if they’re happening at this very moment. It’s intriguing and unusual, but it was a bit too peculiar and confusing for me and I just couldn’t grasp the concept completely.

At a My Kinda Book event I went to at the end of last year, Harriet revealed that there were no wormholes in the first draft of this novel. Instead, I’m guessing they were the traditional kind of flashbacks we’re used to, but they were added in a later version of the book. I can see what Harriet has tried to do here and I think there will be some big fans of the unique approach to the story, but unfortunately I found that blurring the lines between contemporary and sci-fi like this wasn’t my cup of tea.


Brooklyn Girls: Coco
Brooklyn Girls: Coco
by Gemma Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive story about friendship and first love with characters you’ll love spending time with, 17 April 2016
This review is from: Brooklyn Girls: Coco (Paperback)
Brooklyn Girls is a modern chick-lit adventure about an eclectic group of girls trying to make it alone in the city that offers something for everyone to relate to. For me it was a much-needed guilty pleasure that had me smiling from ear-to-ear. I miss escaping to Brooklyn and hanging out with these realistic, delightfully flawed and unashamedly honest girls already.

One of the great things about this book for me was that it is perfect for the older end of the YA-loving spectrum. The girls are in their early twenties so just a bit older than your usual YA characters, but the overall feel and tone of the book was very much appealing to YA fans like me. It’s so addictive, and I could not stop giggling.

It does mean that there is a lot of sex and swearing in this novel, but it’s realistic rather than unnecessary and in typical YA form you’ll be spared the details (this is no 50 Shades).

Stupidly, I didn’t realise that this was book three in a series, but the good news is each novel can be read as a standalone. I think I gave myself a few spoilers for the first two books by reading Coco’s story, but I can’t wait to delve back into this story and get to know these characters better.


The 5th Wave (Book 1)
The 5th Wave (Book 1)
by Rick Yancey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian, gritty, action-packed novel that’s perfect escapism, 17 April 2016
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Book 1) (Paperback)
Now this is my kind of book! I picked The 5th Wave up after watching the trailer for the movie, but I’ve had it on my TBR list for years. Why have I waited so long? Dystopian, gritty, action-packed, this book had me on the edge of my seat.

I felt like I was lost in this book for months, even though it took me just days to read. The depth is stunning and you’ll fall so far in that it’ll take you a while to get used to real life again. I became so deeply invested in this story and its glorious characters that I forgot completely about the world around me. It’s perfect escapism.

The structure of The 5th Wave is brilliant. It switches between characters and their stories perfectly intertwine. You’ll get to know each character and you’ll feel attached to every one of them. They each have their own vulnerabilities and strengths – I loved how utterly brave little Sammy was, and I thought Cassie’s attachment to Sammy’s bear was gorgeous.

I didn’t know it was part of a series until the last page, but I think this book could stand alone. I’m excited to find out what happens to these characters I’ve become so attached to but I also felt completely satisfied with The 5th Wave‘s ending, which is unusual for YA trilogies that usually end on cliff hangers. I’m looking forward to watching the movie to see how it’s been translated for the big screen. Have you read The 5th Wave or watched the movie? Let me know what you thought in the comments section below.


Faceless
Faceless
by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest novel about identity and self-belief that explores how teenagers deal with life-changing injuries., 17 April 2016
This review is from: Faceless (Paperback)
This book is so unlike anything I’ve read before – I’ve certainly never read about such a hard-to-imagine situation and still found myself completely connecting with the characters and fully understanding what they’re going through. It’s very cleverly written and utterly eye-opening.

Faceless is honest and heart-breaking, and there’s not an ounce of sugar-coating to be found. At times, that makes this a difficult book to read because there are moments that are so upsetting and tragic you just want to reach right in and give Maisie and co. a hug.

We enter Maisie’s story just a day before her accident, so we don’t get to know her as the Maisie she had been back then. The new Maisie can be difficult to like at times, though. She acts out dramatically, hurting everyone around her including herself. Of course, I think that’s exactly how anyone in her situation would react, so it doesn’t take long to understand why she does what she does and says the things she says, but it did make it hard to connect with her at the very beginning.

But often those around Maisie are completely awful too, and that’s one of the most difficult to read things about this book. They’re insensitive and snide, highlighting how hard it can be for teenagers to go back to school after a significant change in their life, even if it isn’t as obvious as Maisie’s.

The one downfall of Faceless was its ending. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at all. After a completely absorbing story that I was fully invested in, the ending seemed rather rushed. It’s sweet and heart-warming but it doesn’t feel realistic, which is unexpected from such an otherwise honest novel.


Torn
Torn
by Cat Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Bullies, bad decisions and consuming guilt, this brilliant book is one for Pretty Little Liars fans, 20 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Torn (Paperback)
This book made my heart drop. It’s an incredible exploration of guilt, anxiety, grief and regret, and I felt every one of those emotions as if they were my own. To begin with, I thought that this book was simply a teen drama that wouldn’t hit me too hard, but it’s actually heartbreaking, terrifying and thought-provoking.

I found Alice hard to connect with at the beginning. She’s insecure and often foolish, but I quickly realised that these flaws made her believable and kept me invested in her story. She’s consistent and brilliantly developed.

I loved Jack, and Alice’s complicated relationship with him only added to the battering this book gave my heart. Another favourite of mine was Rae – her story is probably the most important of them all.

And then there’s the ending, which is perfect yet frustrating. Even though I’d have loved to have found out more about what happened to Alice after the book’s ending, I love that Cat Clarke chose to end it where she did. It’s about the journey to that point and nothing else, and it’s the journey that carries the most important message. Going beyond that could have changed or clouded the entire meaning of this book, so I’m glad that Cat was brave enough to leave things open.


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