Blog Tour | Book Review & Author Interview | Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh

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I am taking part in a blog tour to celebrate the release of Jennifer Leigh’s new book, Not Like Everyone Else! For my post, I will be giving you a review of Jenn’s book, which you can read below, as well as a giveaway at the end of the post!


Cover Image-Not Like Everyone Else -Jennifer Leigh.jpgRyan can’t seem to get her memories in order. When she breaks it off with her long-term boyfriend, Corey, she can’t help but feel free. But mysterious events keep Ryan asking “just what happened?” After her family moved to Ryton, after Carter goes missing, after Jacob is in the hospital. All of these afters, but Ryan can’t remember the befores. With Harper and Elliot by her side, Ryan can only hope that she does not forget… again. Will Ryan be able to recover her memory to figure out what happened when it all went dark?

As per usual, I am in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I adored the plot. It was such a great, inventive idea and in the latter half of the book I was racing through it because I wanted to know how it ended. However, the other half of me… well, the characters basically all just drove me a little bit mad. Sorry.

The plot is a kind of murder-mystery mixed with a mystery about the main character, and I loved it! I thought it was thoroughly inventive, and honestly I didn’t guess who the murderer was until about 10 pages before the characters knew. I was kept guessing and I really loved that Leigh drip-fed us through what the character was seeing.

The mystery about the main character is that she has amnesia, but to be honest I kept forgetting that she had it (oh, the irony). The reader kind of finds out things alongside Ryan which was really interesting, because we were kept in the dark like the main character. There were things that we would know that she would forget, which was fun because we got so many viewpoints of many characters.

However, the characters is where I felt really let down. I thought that there were some overreactions (maybe it’s just me!), and Ryan falls in love in like two weeks. TBH, I adored this relationship, but the only thought that crossed my mind was, “This is some Disney shit right here.”

A lot of the characters felt very one-dimensional – I felt like I kind of knew Ryan, and perhaps that was it. Also, I felt like there were some cultural differences – for example, Ryan goes on a date and automatically assumes that her (male) date will pay for everything. Like, that doesn’t really happen in England until the date says themselves! Maybe that’s just me, though?

Overall, I struggled to get through the first half of the book because I didn’t get along with basically any of the characters, but the second half blew me away. The plot was so engrossing, and I wish that Ryan’s parents and Elliot (omg yes what a guy) had been in the first half of the book, because the scenes with them were my absolute favourite!

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads
Amazon (UK)
Personal source: I received an eARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author & Mini Interview 

Q: When did you start writing?
A: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I clearly remember loving when we’d have to write stories in school. Then I would go home and write on Notepad. It was a lot of fun and definitely shaped the reason I love to write today.

Q: Where is your favourite place to write?
A: I love writing in bed. It’s the easiest place to curl up with a blanket and some comfy pillows.

Q: What advice do you have for other authors/potential authors?
A: Follow your dreams. It’s easy to put aside writing for everyday life, but you should never give up if you truly want to be an author. It’s a lot of work,. Yes. But it’s all worth it when you get to see your cover for the first time and hold a physical copy of your book.

Thanks for answering these questions, Jenn! Find out more about Jenn below. 

Jennifer Garey is a self-published young adult author and blogger that writes under the name Jennifer Leigh. She has participated in National Novel Writing Month where all of her thoughts come together and books are created. Jennifer has three published books: Incognito, In Plain Sight, and her new release Not Like Everyone Else. She also has published a short story, The Stranger I Knew. Her blog, Bound to Writing, focuses on young adult books and writing. She lives in New Jersey with her fiancé, two guinea pigs, cat.

Find more by Jennifer Leigh at:


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Poetry Review | Honeybee by Trista Mateer

36206132In this poetry collection, Trista Mateer explores heartbreak, love, loss, and walking away. Honeybee is a memoir in verse, collecting snapshots from a time of ripples in one poet’s life. 

I really liked the style of Mateer’s poetry, and I think that for that reason, Honeybee and I resonated fairly well together.

The topic of heartbreak has been one that poets have written about for centuries, but Mateer’s situation was entirely unique, because she was the one who walked away. This book explores how her own experience with leaving still affected the heartbreak that both sides of the relationship experienced, and I think it’s a side I don’t often read about in poetry, because normally the one who is left is the one who writes the sad poems.

I feel like I wasn’t in quite the emotional state to connect to anything truly (probably didn’t help I read like 75% of this in the doctors’ waiting room), but I did feel it. Mateer pours her whole heart into these poems about her ex and I think that for her, it was probably a really cathartic exercise to do.

A lot of time was really spent writing about her ex, though, and it was quite overwhelming. Obviously a poet should be separated from their poetry in terms of autobiographicalness unless they say it’s an autobiography, but some of what Mateer said surprised me. Even though she was in a new relationship (both sides of the couple), Mateer was still writing very emotive poetry which, if I were reading it as this girl, I would find it a little…. close? maybe? is that the right word? Whichever word, I hope you get the gist – even after one year, two years, Mateer still seemed to be pining for this girl despite being in a new relationship.

I kind of get it, I do, having gone through a difficult break up a year and a half or so ago, but I don’t think I could write this type of poetry about that person now. I miss them sometimes, yes, but I think to write this deeply about them… that’s a whole other level, and despite the fact I was thoroughly enjoying the beautiful phrases Mateer strung together, I was still slightly reserved from the poems, trying to remove myself from how I was feeling at the back of my head the entire time.

Honeybee is a poem about breakup, but not all breakups. Whilst I didn’t -connect-, I could feel the pain that was poured into these poems. From a stylistic point of view, these poems were 100% my cup of tea. I loved Mateer’s writing style, and will definitely be looking to read more of her books in the future. I especially enjoyed how the titles of the poems seemed to almost be another line. Mateer didn’t put a word down without a reason for doing it.

Overall, I think that this was a book Mateer needed to write, but not necessarily one I felt needed to be published. I think that her writing is, honestly, stunning and engrossing, but I felt a little uncomfortable reading it, as I was looking at it from both perspectives: Mateer’s, and the person she left. It’s unfortunate that I had this ticking voice in the back of my mind, otherwise I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. However, I still gave this book a fairly good rating, because I feel like the writing truly deserves it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads
Personal source: sent as an eARC from NetGalley. As always, opinions are entirely my own.


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… milk and honey by Rupi Kaur 

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Cover Reveal | Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh

Hello everyone! I am delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal for a new YA book by Jennifer Leigh.

Not Like Everyone Else is a new contemporary read from young author Jennifer Leigh. Here’s a synopsis:

Ryan can’t seem to get her memories in order. When she breaks it off with her long-term boyfriend, Corey, she can’t help but feel free. But mysterious events keep Ryan asking “just what happened?” After her family moved to Ryton, after Carter goes missing, after Jacob is in the hospital. All of these afters, but Ryan can’t remember the befores. With Harper and Elliot by her side, Ryan can only hope that she does not forget… again. Will Ryan be able to recover her memory to figure out what happened when it all went dark?

Sounds interesting, right? Well, without further ado, here is the cover:

Ta-da! I think it’s so pretty and I love the setting around the model. It looks so intriguing!


Want more of Not Like Everyone Else?

Pre-order your Kindle copy now! Or sign-up for the blog tour which runs from June 15-June 23.

Not Like Everyone Else is set to be released on June 15, 2018.

About Jennifer Leigh:

Jennifer Leigh is a self-published young adult author and blogger. She has participated in National Novel Writing Month where all of her thoughts come together and books are created. Her blog, Bound to Writing, focuses on young adult books and writing. She lives in New Jersey with her fiancé, two guinea pigs, and cat. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 


What do you think of Not Like Everyone Else‘s book cover? Let me know in the comments below!

I’d like to say a big thank-you to Jenn for letting me be a part of her cover reveal tour! I’m super excited to read it.

Book Review | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

34499221With the hearts of seventeen princes underneath her bed, Princess Lira is known as the Princes’ Bane. She’s the most ruthless siren of them all, but when all begins to go wrong, Lira is transformed into the thing she hates most of all: a human. With one goal in mind, Lira finds Prince Elian – in order to steal his heart.

Prince Elian prefers to be known as Captain Elian, the Siren Killer. He and his band of loyal misfits roam the seas, killing sirens and searching for the power to win the war against land and sea. But just how many deals will he have to make to succeed at his task? When Lira asks to join his expedition, Elian knows something isn’t quite right about her, but just how much can he really trust her? 

The blurb of this book kept begging me to read it, and I was so excited when I finally got around to picking it up. A siren murderess and a prince on one ship? Who doesn’t want to read that?!

I frickin’ loved the sirens, to start with. Most of my experience with sirens (hah) comes from Homer and classical mythology, so I loved how they were reworked in this really dark turn of a story. They were ruthless and barbaric, and just absolutely fascinating how they worked. I think the connection they had with the hearts was written really well, how important they were made out to be.

I just absolutely love it when mythology and world building is done well. Christo’s world building was done brilliantly (although I wish there had been a map!), and she really made me believe that this was a world that could exist somewhere. I loved that each country/state had its own kind of trait – like being the centre of invention, or war, or romance. It kind of reminded me of the factions in Divergent a little, but with less fighting between them.

The war against land and sea has long been one that people have written about, but Christo really put a great turn on it. Also, the Sea Queen was a fantastically murderous character. She was so frickin’ ruthless! (And I don’t know about anyone else, but I was getting major Disney’s The Little Mermaid Ursula vibes.)

The whole structure of this book was really well put together and Lira and Elian were both such great characters. Where can I find me an Elian? (But seriously, though.) Their romance was done so well that I didn’t even realise they were changing towards each other at first! This is enemies-to-lovers done at its best, my friends.

I feel like the only let down, for me, was the plot. This was a book very much propelled by characters, and although I was of course interested in their quests, I just loved “being” around the characters and reading their conversations and interactions. That’s not saying that the plot wasn’t good – I think it was, and it featured just about everything I love about plots – but the characters were for me the main focus, and I think that Chriso loved her characters a lot and it kind of showed. The plot was good, but it didn’t get me as excited as just reading Elian and Lira and Kye and Madrid banter with each other.

Overall though this was a great read – the characters were absolutely fantastic, and the idea of the whole book was a brilliant new spin on the Little Mermaid. I never really liked the Disney film as a kid, but I couldn’t help but borrow some of the cartoon’s imagery to help bring the characters to life in my own head.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: borrowed from the library. Thank you for NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I actually read this book from the library because it was easier for me at the time. As always, though, my opinions are my own! 


If you liked this, you might also enjoy… Labyrinth Lost by Zoradia Cordova [review coming soon]

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Book Review | The White Book by Han Kang

39220683The White Book is a book of poetry and prose, exploring mourning, rebirth, and the human spirit. It’s a mediation on colour, a presentation of photography, and an investigation into human life. Translated by Deborah Smith. 

The White Book is an unusual book because it’s not really a ‘book’… or a ‘book of poetry’, either. It’s a collection of experimentation, a kind of therapy put onto paper if you’d like.

Let’s just start by saying that, despite whatever I say from here on, I did really like this book. It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing!

I feel like this book is very biographical. It talks a lot about Han Kang’s mourning for her lost siblings, for her mother and father, and for her life before. It takes place predominantly when she is living away from home and I think that this really gave us an interesting scope from which to look from, as both us and the author were looking at her home from outsider lenses, as Han Kang finally looked back at her past.

It’s quite short – many of the pages are just blank and some of the writings are quite short, so it’s really quick and easy to get through too.

This book is, mostly, fascinating. It’s writing for the sake of writing – some people might like this, and some don’t. It’s therapy writing, and going through a lot of grief myself so far this year, I really connected with some of her writing. However… it’s a book that I forgot very quickly. I guess that gives me an excuse to read it again soon!

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Waterstone’s


If you liked this, you might also like…. Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy

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Book Review | Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

23131087Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. – from Goodreads

This was a hilarious, unique graphic novel in a great style, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Let’s start with the setting – I really liked the kind of steampunk-esque-ness of the world, with it’s science but also characters jousting and fighting with swords. The world building was put really well together, showing both the city and the countryside really well.

The characters in this graphic novel are just brilliant – they’re so witty, especially Nimona, and have great backstories and dynamics. I loved seeing them all together, and how some of them were cartoonishly villainous or heroic, but it didn’t actually feel stupid in this graphic novel at all.

Nimona was such a great character; her skill (shape-shifting) was awesome, and she has such a great way of speaking. Every other sentence out of her mouth was basically hilarious – I haven’t laughed out loud when reading a graphic novel before!

I wish that we had seen more of Ambrosius and Ballister, as I believe they were meant to be romantically involved but it was only hinted at and ah I love these two! They were both interesting characters in their own right, and when you put them in the same room the realness of their exchanges – like that of a proper friendship – just melted off the page into a lovely heap.

Overall I really loved this graphic novel, and I’d really recommend it if you want a super quick read! It only took me about 40 minutes all in all.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: borrowed from the library


If you liked this you might also enjoy… Saga vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples [review]

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Book Review | The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

36628816Rumour has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control. But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself. – edited from Goodreads

I was super excited to read this book, as although it’s Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel, it has been reprinted following the success of Moxie (which I absolutely loved, although for some reason didn’t review – that will be coming soon!). However, The Truth About Alice, for me, fell flat.

I enjoyed reading only some of the POVs from which this story was told, and there were about 4 or 5 of them. Some were engaging, like Josh, and some just weren’t really that interesting at all. I also thought the differing POVs may not have lent themselves brilliantly to this novel – I would have preferred maybe only 2 or 3 if there were differing POVs at all.

The idea of course interested me because it’s about feminism and it’s also YA. I think it’s a novel about looking beyond what you believe a person to be to what they actually are, and for that reason I think it’s really important.

Alice was an interesting, complex character to whom terrible things happened, and I think it really shows how society today turns against someone if they make just one mistake. Alice was shunned because of a rumour, not even truth in the matter, and it was heartbreaking to watch all of her friends turn against her.

Mathieu writes about feminism in a way that no one else does – raw, and from a teenage perspective. Moxie was just incredible, and I will definitely be reading anything else she brings out. So overall, this book fell flatly compared to her most recent novel, but for a debut, it really explores new territory (it was published in 2014) and although the way it was told didn’t meld well with me, the ideas behind it, and of course Mathieu’s writing, were really brilliant to read.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads
Source: eARC from NetGalley


~*NEW SECTION*~

I’ve decided to add a “if you liked this…” section to each of my reviews, so if you enjoyed the book I reviewed, another one by a different author is listed below (and along with my review, if I’ve written one!).

If you liked this, you might also enjoy… The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed [review]

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Book Review | The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

36039165Lucy Moynihan was run out of town because she accused the popular guys at school of gang rape. Everyone knows that. And no one ever speaks of it. 

The Nowhere Girls are every girl. But they start with just three: Grace, Rosina, and Erin. Together, they form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl silenced because she spoke the truth. 

I have wanted to read this book for so long and when it was £2 (!) on Amazon, I bought it straight away and devoured it as soon as it arrived.

The topic of this book is something that drew me straight away. I love stories about girls who band together to speak up for injustice (like Moxie by Jennifer Matheiu) and it’s happening more and more in everyday life too (eg #MeToo). I really value authors writing about feminism and standing up for justice, and this was such a brilliant book about it!

The characters are interesting and diverse, of different races and sexuality, and I especially loved how we got to look at all of them. Reed writes in four different points of view – Grace, Rosina, Erin, and Us. “Us” was probably my favourite, and I wish Reed had written more from this because it was just such a stunning portrayal of people. It seemed to jump in and out of different girls’ heads, telling us things that the narrator knows but no one else does, sometimes not even the characters themselves.

The present tense, omnipotent narrator was an interesting choice, but I’m glad that Reed branched out and made it. It was fascinating to read, not least because I’ve rarely read from a perspective like this, but because it allowed us to jump around without it feeling jarring. There were of course certain POVs I liked more than others, but I think that that really shows the scope of a great writer.

Overall, I was completely gripped and I adored this book. It’s one of those books that gave me tingles down my arms when I thought of the characters and the injustices in this world faced by women all over the place. It’s one that I really think doesn’t get talked about enough in the bookosphere, and I would really like it to be far, far more!

Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Amazon

Book Review | A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

34609221Hazel and Daisy have left England and set out to Hong Kong for the mourning period of Hazel’s grandfather who passed away. When they arrive, Hazel just looks forward to spending time with her family and her father in particular. But when they reach her home, she has a very nasty surprise. Before she can even get over this, tragedy strikes, not once, but twice. With criminal gangs, new maids they’re not sure they can trust, and a wholly different culture to what the Honourable Daisy Wells is used to, this might be the Detective Society’s most challenging case yet. 

I absolutely LOVE the Wells and Wong series. It’s such a brilliant series, and in all honesty, it just keeps on getting better.

This one takes place in Hong Kong, which is a place I’ve never been to myself, and I loved learning about the different culture. Stevens has researched very thoroughly, and she took a research trip there herself, so I feel like what she says can be trusted. It felt like I could see and hear Hong Kong, and the descriptions were so rich, as per!

I don’t want to say too much about the case itself, (spoilers!) but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing. The stakes in this one seemed to be very much higher than what they used to be, and how Stevens will top this I do not know! (She will find a way.) I didn’t work it out long before Hazel and Daisy themselves, so it was a case that had me guessing all the way through as well.

Basically, I just loved this book. Hazel and Daisy are two of my favourite literary heroines, and Robin Stevens honestly just keeps on getting better. I thought that the ending might have been a bit of a cop-out, but to be honest, it’s the best ending that there could be in order to finish the book appropriately. Overall? It was brilliant, and I would highly recommend this book and all of the others in the series.

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Amazon

Book Review | Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

36275385Maya Aziz dreams about kissing boys and going to film school in New York, but miles away, an unknown danger looms. A terrorist attack in another city unleashes fear and hate in Maya’s small town, changing her life and disrupting her future. – blurb from back of book

Okay, so let’s just start out by saying that I really enjoyed this book.

Maya is, firstly, such a loveable protagonist. I admit that there were some things that she did that I didn’t agree with: such as *spoiler* running away for 36 hours *end spoiler* and some of the things she said to her parents she never apologised for, which I found hard to comprehend, especially as her parents also seemed like lovely people. However, Maya is also a realistic teenage girl: she has her crushes, the people she doesn’t like, sadly she has the bullying at high school and her hobbies and passions in the form of cinematography. I was definitely rooting for her the whole way to go to film school, and I loved how she kept up her passion of filming throughout the entire thing.

I thought that the plot was less about what the blurb says (isn’t that always the way) and more about Maya’s love life. She moons over a boy the entire way through (who I didn’t actually like at all initially) which would have been fine if this book had been primarily marketed as romance rather than a kind of commentary on society and Islamophobia. Which I would like to move swiftly onto.

I myself am not Indian, Muslim, or American, so whilst I do know that this is an #OwnVoices novel, I cannot speak of the rep. From reading reviews of people who are American-Indian Muslim, some were frustrated by the rep (see here and here) whereas others felt like the book did a good job in rep (see here and here). I cannot speak of the rep, as I’ve said, although I did just want to mention that I don’t remember Maya really mentioning her religion in relation to herself. She talks about her parents going to mosque, she listens to others talk about religion, but never about herself, which is something I had been really looking forward to seeing and was a little disappointed that this was seemingly passed in the narrative. (I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the Indian wedding scene. The descriptions were so vivid!) If you have any personal experience and would like to share, please feel free to in the comments.

Whilst I wish we had actually seen more of Maya’s best friend Violet, I enjoyed the supporting characters. Everyone felt like they had a role (apart from Lisa’s friends, who were just the cliche mean girls), and omg Hina was WONDERFUL! She was such a great aunt AND friend to Maya, and really supported her, plus she was markedly different in the sense that she really broke out of the box in terms of what was expected of her, and it was really interesting to read.

Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars, as I did really enjoy the romance and I just enjoyed the book as a whole. I can’t wholly comment on the rep, although as I said, I did wish there had been more of Maya talking about her own religion. This was quite a short read too, although I felt like it could have been longer. And I definitely enjoyed the epilogue (not all of it, but those are spoilers for another day).

Rating: 4/5

Source: Bought from Waterstones
Goodreads