30 January 2017

REVIEW: The Shadow Cabinet

THE SHADOW CABINET
by Maureen Johnson


Pages: 374, paperback
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 5th February 2015
ISBN: 1471401804
Received From:  Hot Key Books


Summary 

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death. 
With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out... 

Review

**Spoilers if you haven't read the second book**

I started this series when I was still in college about five years ago now and I remember being terrified! The ghosts that haunted the streets of London literally were the thing of nightmare so when the second book came out, The Madness Underneath, I was hooked instantly. The ghosts may not have been quite as terrifying as the Ripper, who had made me cringe, but they were still scary. However, the reason I loved book two so much was that we go more of our all seeing ghost busting team! Saying that the ending of the second instillment broke me and when Hot Keys sent me the third book I couldn't bring myself to read it. With Stephen dead I didn't know if I really wanted to read on but after almost two years I finally picked The Shadow Cabinet off the shelf and started reading.

The Shadow Cabinet continues where we left on in The Madness Underneath. Stephen has just died, Charlotte is missing and the whole of London is on the hunt for Rory. This instalment of The Shades of London sees the team tackle the ghosts of their pasts and opens up a whole new world with the introduction of Sid and Sadie. These two gruesome characters are the reason behind Jane's madness and why she's so desperate to get hold of Rory. With ghosts old and new and a vital member of the team gone will this ghost busting team make it to the end of the book? Only one way to find out. 

"
"We see people come back all the time," I said.
"No. We see people who didn't leave. There's a big difference.""


Much like The Madness Underneath the ghost element that had scared and entranced me so much with The Name of the Star was missing and I was a little disappointed. Yes, there were ghosts and odd moments that felt like it was drawing on the foundations of the original book (especially in the second half) but it was mostly focused on one thing... Jane. In the second book Jane kidnapped Rory's 'friend' Charlotte and at the start of this book the hunt is on to find her. The whole story felt more about the people rather than the ghost to me and without Stephen and Rory and Callum not talking it really didn't grip my attention the way I hoped. 



There were new elements introduced to the series however, with more information into Jane's background, all things occult and a little firecracker named Freddie who tries to integrate into the ghost hunting team. Although With Stephen gone its not exactly the best timing at I can totally see why Callum doesn't approve as it feels a bit like they are trying to replace Stephen. The story line as a whole is good although it may not have been all I hoped for it still kept me interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. 




I'll admit the first part dragged on a bit but I love the series so much and I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. The second half was much more like the Shades of London books we've come to know and love and if you haven't yet read it I would recommend it. I won't say too much else as I don't want to give the game away but when book 4 is realised (as far as I know there isn't a title yet, but I will keep you posted) I will be reading it. Although unlike with the others I think I'll be reading more out of curiosity than seer excitement. Worth a read if you haven't already, as I do have high praise for the rest of the series. 


27 January 2017

January Round up

New Year and 2017 is the year of the blogging for me. I took a couple of years out due to university commitments and I was only able to post the odd review. So this year I am going to keep on top of my reviews as I've missed the book blog community and I'm so happy to be back in the game. So to start things off I am going to be doing monthly round ups of what I've read, what to expect in the month to come and most of all my book of the month. 


BOOK OF THE MONTH
A Quite Kind of Thunder
by Sara Barnard



Mini review

A Quiet Kind of Thunder delves into what it is like to suffer with a crippling anxiety in a way I could never explain. It is easy to imagine Steffi and Rhys walking down the halls of any high school telling a story that is charmingly addictive. 

Gif review 


for full review of A Quiet Kind of Thunder




WHAT I READ IN JANUARY 

1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (5 Stars)
2. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (3 Stars)
3. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (3 Stars)
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Pecuilar Children by Ransom Riggs (4 Stars) **Audio Book**
5. The Memory Book by Lara Avery 
6. Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaels (DNF)
7. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (4 Stars)


WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY 

Reviews 
Wintersong by .S. Jae-Jones
Ariadnis by Josh Martin
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco 


Q&A
Interview with Kendare Blake all to do with her newest novel Three Dark Crowns. I was super excited to be able to to this Q&A so I hope you lot enjoy it as much as I did. 
In the best possible way


25 January 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #3



CARAVAL
by Stephanie Garber


Pages: 416
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN: 1250095255


Summary 


Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .  
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. 
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. 
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.



PUBLICATION DATE: 
31st of January 2016


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






23 January 2017

REVIEW: The Memory Book

THE MEMORY BOOK
by Lara Avery


Pages: 357
Publisher: Hachette
Publication Date: January 26th 2017 (Originally July 5th 2016)
ISBN: 9781784299248
Received From:  Hachette (via NetGalley)

Summary 


“They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.” 
Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she's going to win the national debating championship, then she's going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. What she needs is a new plan. 
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.

Review

Right here we go! This book got me right in the feels and had me ugly crying for hours! I was not in anyway, shape or form emotionally prepared for The Memory Book and it still has me reeling. I have not read a book that has made me full on cry in a long time and the last entry in The Memory Book broke me! So I will try and keep it together as I write this review. 



The Memory Book is written as a journal to help Sammie remember everything she knows she might one day forget when she is diagnosed with a condition that affects her memory. To Sammie her brain is everything, it is what makes her special and the idea of this being damaged overtime is impossible to come to terms with. The journal shows how it affects her friendships, family life and future but I think most importantly it shows the way this illness changes the way she sees the world around her. 

Sammie as a character is easy to connect with as she is a strong and determined young women who knows what she wants from life. It's her determination to achieve her goals that makes her special and even when faced with the unfair truths of her condition she refuses to give up on her dreams. It's a story of strength and finding motivation and comfort in the most unlikely of places. Reading as Sammie's outlook on life is questioned is so moving and had me holding back the tears and beaming with pride. 

The story itself is quintessentially YA and I loved the fact Lara Avery played on the high school experience and make it clear throughout the book that Sammie IS a teenage girl and even when forced to grow up fast she remains true to the way I imagine an 18 year old would deal with this situation. There is a strong emphasis on friendship and not taking the people around you for granted with a big focus on the way Sammie interacts with the people around her. She is a head strong protagonist and its the challenges she faces throughout the book that shapes her into a character than you can't help but rout for. 



It wasn't all doom and gloom though! In fact throughout the book there were moments that made me laugh out loud. There were wacky friends, rather hot boyfriend and an unexpected alliance with a friend she thought she has lost. Said friend is Cooper! Cooper had me smiling on more occasions than I could count! He's everything you don't want for a girl like Sammie as he doesn't focus in school, he spends his time partying and is a Grade A stoner but there is something charming about the boy that had me from the first moment he was mentioned.

Overall I adored this book. Even when I was struggling to read through the tears I couldn't put this book down and it had me reading into the early hours of the morning. It is heartbreakingly perfect and I couldn't think of a thing I would have wanted done differently. The characters are funny, stubborn and easy to love. The story is devastating and flows effortlessly. But above all else Lara managed to get me where it hurt, she wrote a book that connected with me on an emotional level and THAT is the sign of a great writer. 




18 January 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #2



THE MEMORY BOOK
by Lara Avery



Pages: 357 paperback
Publisher: Hachette
ISBN: 9781784299248

Summary 


“They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.”  
Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she's going to win the national debating championship, then she's going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. What she needs is a new plan. 
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love. 
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.

PUBLICATION DATE:
26th of January 2017


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 

16 January 2017

REVIEW: Carry On

CARRY ON
by Rainbow Rowell


Pages: 518 (paperback)
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: February 25th 2016
ISBN: 1447266943
  


Summary 

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who's ever been chosen
That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. 
Half the time Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here - it's their last year at Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up. 

Review

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a massive Rainbow Rowell fan! I can't even pretend I don't fangirl over her and when it came to Carry On I was so excited to sit down and read it. Fangirl is my all time favourite contemporary read and when it was released that Rainbow was writing the book Cath spent so much time swooning over I couldn't help but do my happy dance... yes there really is a dance. I wasn't able to get around to reading Carry On when it first came out due to uni commitments but I FINALLY get to share my thoughts on Rainbow's latest books... there will be gushing, you have been warned.

"Sharing a room with the person you want most is like sharing a room with an open fire."

Carry On follows the narratives of a group of wizards, also know as mages, as they try to complete their last year at Watford. However, Watford isn't any normal school it is a school where magic is taught and magical greatness is made. Over the last six years Simon Snow and his roommate Baz have tried to kill each other countless times and the reason for this is simple. Baz is evil and Simon is the 'chosen one' - even if he is useless at the job! However, in their final year at Watford everything changes and as in any good 'chosen one' tale there is a big bad wolf character out to blow down the world of mages... his name... the humdrum!

Okay, so to start with I wasn't actually that sure about Carry On and being a massive fan of Rainbow that is really hard to say. It felt a little on the babbley side and I struggled to get into it.


HOWEVER, it may have taken me a month to read the first 150 pages, I read the other 368 in less than twenty-four hours. I think the reason for this is that to begin with there is a lot of setting the scene (and rightly so) because as a reader we have to be filled in on the last 6 years of these characters lives before we can really get to the present day. But once I hit book two - it's in four sections - I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. I NEEDED to know what Simon and Baz where up to and that is one of the signs of a great writer.

The story does have a Harry Potter element to it, I mean HP has filled our lives - and hearts - for the last decade and a bit, so any story about witches and wizards at a wizardry school sparks comparisons. You also have the orphaned chosen one and school nemesis from a well known wizarding family. However, saying that there is a lot of originality to Carry On, especially when it comes to the way Rainbow creates magic. Rainbow plays with words, with her magical language built up of cliches and well known phrases. The theory behind the magic being the normals (that's us muggles by the way) give words meaning and the more they say certain saying the more power they give them. Things such as, Carry On, Take a Break Have a KitKat and even old nursery rhymes are spells and I have to say I loved that! Rainbow isn't an english author however, the continuity was perfect and the references were relevant which made me smile... especially the little nod to Ant and Dec!

The parts I really want to swoon over are total spoilers so I'm not going to say too much more. What I do want to talk about though is BAZ. Keeping in mind I'm now 24 it feels a tad strange gushing over an eighteen-year-old vampire but thats just what happened. Baz is one of the funniest and most sarcastic bastards I've ever read. He's a hat tilt to all the misunderstood baddies we've come to love to hate and he's just this bundle of sarcastic yummieness.


Overall though I really did love this book, yes it had a rocky start in my opinion but once I got into it it was perfect. Carry On is a love letter to fan fiction and just reading it you can see how much the author loves books. The references as perfect and the little nods to other well know books are effortless and respectful. I'm so happy Rainbow decided Simon and Baz's story needed to be told after Fangirl because as well as being a great stand alone book I also now understand Cath from Fangirl better. Mostly because I'm now fangirling with her!

"I know Simon and I will always be enemies...
But I thought maybe we'd get to a point where we didn't want to be." 

12 January 2017

#AQuietKindOfThunder


- Losing Your Voice -



With the release of Sara Barnard's second novel A Quiet Kind of Thunder I've been asked to take part in something quite special, but I will get to that shortly because first I need to tell you why. You see every so often you get a book and you know it means something and A Quiet Kind of Thunder MEANS something. It is a rather special book as it gives a voice to a character that doesn't have one. It is a real and honest account of what it is like to deal with a crippling anxiety in todays society and it looks at the whys, the hows and ultimately the truths of one persons struggle with this condition. I've suffered from anxiety for many years and I sometimes cannot put into words what it feels like to be the way I am but A Quiet Kind of Thunder gave me the words to describe it. 

Now onto what we're doing today! As mentioned before with the lead up to publication day us bloggers were asked to take a moment and think what it would be like to not have a voice. Our mission, if we chose to accept it, was to think about the things we'd struggle with most in our lives if we couldn't simply use our words. In Sara Barmard's own words she said that these were the worst.

The Top Five Worst Times To Be Mute
As told by Steffi in A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard 
5) When you need the toilet 
4) When you’re bleeding
3) When you need a new pencil
2) When you look a bit suspicious 
1) When your best friend needs you

When I really thought about this it kind of hit a little too close for comfort. I went through a period in my life where I couldn't speak up, I was too scared to say what I felt because (whether is is rational or not) the idea of being mocked, judged or even questioned on my own opinion terrified me. I didn't want people to think I was stupid or wasting their time. I was never completely mute like our main protagonist Steffi but it isn't exaggerated when people refer to anxiety as 'crippling'. 

So in the name of A Quiet Kind of Thunder the list below shows the times that I think/know it would suck to be mute. These are the times that in my life I have struggled with simply because I couldn't open my mouth and say what I need to say. Some are the same as Sara's because quite frankly they are the worst times not to have a voice. 


My Top Five Worst Times To Be Mute

 When you need the toilet  
For the obvious reasons if you need to go you need to go and in certain situations you need to ask permission from a teacher or to leave a meeting to do this. However, imagine if you couldn't do that? As well as being mute this is also a really horrible one if you have anxiety because the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself. It might seem like something small but it becomes a big issue when you're too frightened to use your voice.   
 When you are lost 
Thank god for sat navs is all I have to say on this one. I've been in this situation before and my phone died so I couldn't use google maps and instead of stopping to ask directions I simply drove around until I found the right road... it added half an hour to an already long journey but I was too scared to ask someone.   
When you need to give a presentation  
THIS is hell for most people but just for a second think about the turmoil of giving a presentation IN FRONT OF PEOPLE when you struggle to simply ask to borrow a pen.   
When you are in trouble 
Okay I have the perfect example for this one! About a year and a half ago my car broke down on the motorway (in the fast lane just to make things worse) and I was stranded. I had people shouting abuse at me because I was holding up traffic and there was nothing I could do but call the breakdown people. LUCKILY I was at a point in my life where I was able to talk on the phone (a year earlier I struggled to do that due to anxiety) but if I couldn't make that one phone call I could have been in a lot of trouble. More trouble that I was already in. If I had been mute this could have been a life or death situation.   
When your best friend needs you 
It might be a broken heart, a failed exam, a bad day at work or simply they need an ear to bend. When your friends need you they need you and not being able to be there for them is heartbreaking. They feel let down and you feel like the worst friend possible. However, sometimes no matter how much you want to be there and say the right thing to make them feel better the words just don't come. It might not seem as bad as one or two of the others but this is the one thats hard to deal with. When you can't be there for your best friend because you can't speak is soul crushing. 



So that's my top five moments, but why not take a moment and think about what it would be like to lose your voice. To struggle with asking for help when you need it and write your own list. Comment bellow with your top times and let me know what you think it means to be mute. 





Pages: 320 
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: January 12th 2017
ISBN: 9781509810987
Received From:  Macmillan Children's Books


Summary 


Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.
 
Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 

BUY IT NOW



11 January 2017

Waiting On Wednesday #1


So this year I'm reinstating Waiting on Wednesday on The YA's Nightstand and the first one is an exciting one!!! 


The Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco


Pages: 400
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 1492635820


Summary 

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!



The Bone Witch is out on the 7th of March and I'm so excited to read it! I currently have it sitting on my kindle and it will be one of the books I read over January but the hype around The Bone Witch is insane. Witches, family, resurrections and some dark and dangerous force lurking in the background? I can not wait!! Fingers crossed its as good as everyone says and I will let you know my thoughts as soon as I can. 

In the mean time what is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 



9 January 2017

REVIEW: A Quiet Kind of Thunder

A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER

by Sara Barnard


Pages: 320 
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: January 12th 2017
ISBN: 9781509810987
Received From:  Macmillan Children's Books


Summary 


Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.
 
Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 


Review

I've been DYING to tell you all about this one for months now! A Quiet Kind of Thunder is one of my favourite books in a long time and I honestly can not wait for you lot to read it!! I connected so much with the characters in this book and it is a story about celebrating the small things and finding love and courage in the most unlikely of places. 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is about a girl named Steffi. Steffi doesn't talk very much and over the years has lost her voice to anxiety and fear but on the first day of Sixth Form she is introduced to Rhys. Rhys is deaf and can not hear which leads to the unusual pairing communicating through sign language and hand written notes. They create their own little bubble of communication and an unlikely friendship becomes something quite wonderful. Throughout the book we follow Steffi as she learns to use her voice in situations she would have found paralysing in the past and discover the impact the pair have on each others lives. 

The characters in this book are endearing and unique in a way I wasn't expecting. I love that YA is becoming a massive genre in its own right but it means character profiles are getting used and reused over and over. In A Quiet Kind of Thunder we are introduced to two characters that, in my opinion, were a refreshing change from the usual YA protagonists. There is a fragileness to Steffi I think most people can relate to in one way or another, she is strong in her own way but it is a delicate kind of strength that is built up over time with the help from the people around her. A kind of strength she will have to fight to keep hold of. 

Then we come to Rhys... I think I admired him because he was so completely and utterly honest that at times he doesn't cope with his disability. He isn't a character that has the confidence to take on the world with a single charming glance, he has moments where he throws a strop, acts like life isn't fair and throws the towel in. However, it's moments like those that adds to the believability of him, it is what makes Rhys Rhys. Both Rhys and Steffi are 100% honest, they aren't sugar coated into high school stereotypes and that just makes them all the more engaging as a reader. 

Something you notice as a book blogger is that a lot of people in this community suffer from anxiety in one way or another and I'm no exception to this. Dealing with anxiety in a world that still - for the most part - doesn't understand what you are going through everyday is hard! However, A Quiet Kind of Thunder delves into what it's like to suffer with anxiety in a way I could never explain. Anxiety is a condition that can completely tare a part a persons life and it was overwhelming being able to read a book that completely epitomises the fear of anxiety while at the same time delivering a compelling and interesting story line. 

Overall I adored this book. I could imagine Steffi and Rhys walking down the halls at my high school (back in the day) and the story is charmingly addictive. I couldn't put this book down and I'm so excited you guys get to read it soon!! 



4 January 2017

REVIEW: What Light

WHAT LIGHT
by Jay Asher


Pages: 256
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 20th November 2016
ISBN:1509840761




Summary 


Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon - it's an idyllic place for a girl to grow up, except that every year they have to pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life begins to eclipse the other...

Review

Christmas has been and gone for another year but I can't be the only one having the holiday blues! I love this time of year and if you are the same as me and want to hold onto that holiday feeling for just a little bit longer this is the book for you! 

What Light is the story of Sierra and her two lives. For the majority of the year she lives her everyday life in Oregon - ON A CHRISTMAS TREE FARM - she goes to school, hangs out with mates and lives like any other teenager. However, from thanksgiving to Christmas Eve Sierra and her family move to California to run their christmas tree lot. For as long as she can remember she has had these two lives but that is all about to change. This year Sierra catches the eye of Caleb on the lot and from that moment on things start to change... and not all for the better. 

Okay so I will start with the negatives and I hate to say it but that mostly comes in the form of a teenage stereotype named Caleb. He has everything he needed to be the perfect book boyfriend however, there was something about him that didn't sit right. I think it was the predictability of him being misunderstood. I get that there was the whole "don't listen to gossip" moral going on but I guess I wanted more from him as a character. I feel like the reason he did what he did wasn't good enough and if I'm honest if I had been in Sierra's shoes I wouldn't have given him the time of day. I didn't feel like there was enough conviction to his arc and it made it a little two dimensional at times. A little hard to believe. 

However, saying that the story itself was very sweet and I think everyone can connect with the struggles of finding that balance between your friends and your first love. Its is very much the quintessential coming of age story with a rather adorable christmas spin. Not to mention it kinda made me want to open a Christmas tree farm somewhere... who knew they didn't just grown all pointy and christmas tree like? 

It was a sweet little book that tugged on the heart strings. If you want a book that will make you feel all warm and festive then this is definitely for you. It has all the YA requirements, misunderstood bad boy, friendship, protective farther and cute moral centre. Although I felt it might have needed a bit more depth to it if you want something easy to read and enjoyable then enjoy. Even though Christmas has past it is perfect for those upcoming winter nights.