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eARC Review: In the Present Tense by Carrie Pack

In the Present Tense by Carrie Pack

In the Present TenseIn the Present Tense by Carrie Pack
Published by:
 Interlude Press

Publication Date:  May 19th 2016 
Series: In the Present Tense, #1
Genres: New Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: 29/06/2018
Links: Goodreads Netgalley | BooktopiaB & N | Book Depository

Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time travelling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love.

Travelling more frequently, Miles assembles the puzzle pieces of his life and, in doing so, alienates his wife. As he loses control, Miles must realise that sometimes fixing your past mistakes means changing your future. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?

I received a copy of In the Present Tense from Netgalley for review Considerations. This in no way influences my opinion of this book.

In the Present Tense tells the story of Miles, a 17-year-old guy who is completely in love with his boyfriend Adam, when he suddenly wakes up and finds himself in his 25-year-old body and married to a girl called Ana. When he finds out he can time-travel, he goes on the search for a cure, and his first love, Adam. 

I loved the premise of this book and the blurb really intrigued me. However, around 25% of the way through, I was thoroughly confused and wondered what I was reading. This was an interesting idea. I was immediately enticed upon reading the description. I think this was overall very creative, and it remained so throughout. I did like the writing style. It wasn’t absurdly special, but it was fairly nice with some great descriptions thrown about. 

I thought the Characters were the weak point, it really impacted how much I enjoyed the story. All the characters just seemed hollow and didn’t have much personality. I had a good understanding of who they were on surface level, but it never really went beyond that.

The relationships between the character also seemed a bit ‘planned’; you just knew what was going to happen between them, and it felt like the author made you root for the characters that were going to end up together, by giving them a lot of backstory, and not telling you much about the other characters and their relationship with our main character. 

There just something off with the pacing in this book, and I think it was due to the fact the characters talk about everything! Seriously, I love dialogue, but these characters talked about every emotion they’d ever had and every single detail of their plans.

So, in conclusion, while I didn’t enjoy some parts of the book, I still enjoyed reading it, but I just wish there would’ve been more to the characters. This is the first book in a series, and I don’t think I’ll be reading the next one. I’m not really interested in seeing where this story goes. However, I don’t usually like science fiction or Time Travel books, so that I might’ve had an impact on my enjoyment of this book.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion. 

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eARC Review: For the Love of Horses by Kelly Wilson

For the Love of Horsesby Kelly Wilson

cover96025-mediumFor the love of Horses by Kelly Wilson
Published by: RHA eBooks Adult
Publication Date:  October 3rd 2016
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir
Format: eBook
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars
Date Read: 8/05/2018
Links: Goodreads Amazon

Three sisters and their unforgettable journeys to rescue, tame and train New Zealand’s wild Kaimanawa horses. 

For the Love of Horses is a heartfelt story with humble beginnings in rural New Zealand. From the trials and tears of Pony Club to the joy of riding bareback, and the pressures of adolescence and competitive showjumping, it follows television stars and sisters Vicki, Kelly and Amanda Wilson’s rise to success at the highest level of competition. It is also the story of an unlikely childhood dream coming true.

In 2012 the Wilson sisters became aware of the plight of the wild Kaimanawa horses as they were rounded up and sent to the slaughterhouse. The sisters embarked on a courageous journey to tame horses that many people believed were untrainable. Can the Wilsons change these horses’ fate?

Share the heartbreak, the pain, the elation and the success as the sisters take on these great challenges in this touching and remarkable omnibus edition of two bestsellers.

I received a copy of For the Love of Horses from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

This book interested me because I love horses. This book covers a brief story of the Wilson sisters childhood and their many horses they have owned and show jumped. This also covers the Wilson first time seeing the wild Kaimanawa horses and training them. This is an autobiography, based on the sisters childhood. It has interesting metaphors and onomatopoeia all through the book.

This book is set in a little farm in the North Island, with a few acres of land. The family couldn’t afford paddock fencing, so they used fallen logs instead. As the sisters got older, they travelled around the country. This book starts when the sisters were young and grew up with horses. The book carries on to tell us about Vicki and her sisters competing in shows. It then goes into them travelling and going to university. Their early struggles and humble beginnings were fascinating. 

In conclusion, I think that For The Love Of Horses, is a very interesting and informative book about the lives of Vicki Wilson and her sisters. This is a story of three sisters’ love for horses and their determination to get the most out of what life has to offer.

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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eARC Review: Dark Summer by Lizzy Ford

Dark Summer by Lizzy Ford.png

17454136Dark Summer by Lizzy Ford
Publication Date: March 16th, 2013
Published by: Evatopia Press

Series: The Witchling, #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Pages: 250
Rating: 3
Date Read: 16/12/2017
Links: Goodreads | Netgalley

A school for Witchlings… The ultimate choice between Light and Dark… Where the price of a mistake…is your soul. Sixteen-year-old Summer doesn’t expect her new boarding school to be any different than the rest: a temporary stay, until her uncontrollable magic gets her thrown out again. In her mind, there’s no point in getting too friendly with anyone. That is, until she notices Decker, the boy who will become the Master of Night and Fire on his eighteenth birthday. When she learns that this special school has attracted others with magic in their blood, she is hopeful that this time around, things may be different. Besides, she can’t deny her interest in Decker, and when he rescues her one night from the dark forests of the Rocky Mountains, their connection is instant. Yet a relationship with Decker may prove to be Summer’s downfall, forcing her to choose between Light and Dark, life and death, love – and their souls. One choice. One soul. One price.

I received a copy of Dark Summer from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Okay, so, I’m a bit conflicted on what I should say about this book. Part of me loved it, and part of me was put off by some aspects of it.

Summer had a hard life being bounced from orphanage to orphanage and never feeling like she belonged until she goes to a new boarding school for gifted students. She loved the wide open spaces and nearby forests compared to the concrete jungle of LA. All the students there had some form of magickal ability which Summer thought was crazy yet she felt “alive” for the first time ever.

I was in love with this book from the beginning but the ending has made me seriously consider going on to the next in the series. It was a bunch of rushed disappointment and I’m just not sure if I want to see this series through now.

I think overall there seemed to be a slight disconnect with the teen’s in the story. Sometimes acting to be several years younger than depicted and at other times acting several years beyond their maturity level. The character development, especially in terms of the character relationships was not really developed and a bit abrupt. And it frustrated me that Summer had a hard time connecting point A to point B unless it was specifically spelled out for her. In general I felt more invested in the relationship between the two brothers – Beck & Decker – and in the upcoming difficulties they had before them, than in Summer herself.

And The world building just wasn’t there. I had so many unanswered questions! How do these witches get their powers? Are there lots of witchlings? Is there some sort of hierarchy? Are witchlings actually human? I was a bit confused as to what the origin of magick was supposed to be.

By the end of the book, I still do not feel like I really know any of these characters. We didn’t spend enough time with them, we kept going to different Characters. I feel we needed more time with one character than little bits from each.

I will probably be reading the next book, mostly because I want to find out what happens between the two brothers. It was a great idea, I just do not feel this book was executed well. But There was enough about this series that I enjoyed. Here’s hoping Autumn is better than Summer!

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That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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eARC Review: The Last Portal by Robert Cole

The Last Portal by Robert Cole.png

23776784The Last Portal by Robert Cole
Publication Date: December 6th, 2014
Series: Mytar Series, #1
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Pages: 170
Rating: 3
Date Read: 6/10/2017
Links: Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Netgalley

Severe weather patterns – storms, floods and strong winds – are sweeping across planet Earth. Against this backdrop, three high school students, known and tormented for their strange abilities, fight their own battles against school bullies. The discovery of a strange key by their leader Chris Reynolds plunges all three through a portal into a sister world, Cathora, in another dimension. In this world their behaviours, that labelled them as misfits on Earth, turn out to be the seeds of extraordinary powers.

They soon meet Batarr, the Guardian of the portal; he tells them they are not normal children, but are part of a group of six entities called Mytar who are periodically seeded throughout the dimensions to fight planetary invasions across these portals. Cathora has been invaded by an alien army, led by a creature known only as Zelnoff. Zelnoff’s next target is Earth. The Mytar alone have the power to stop him if the other Mytar on Earth can be found. There ensues many struggles and battles as Chris, Susie and Joe seek to evade Zelnoff’s forces long enough for their powers to develop so they can detect the remaining Mytar back on Earth.

I received a copy of The Last Portal from Netgalley for Review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Chris, Joe and Susie seem to be the outcast at school, being bullied but what they are soon going to discover is that they are meant to do something great. They get sucked through a portal to Cathora where they learn they are Mytar and their destiny is to protect all planets from The evil Zentor. They learn that they each have a unique ability.

At first I didn’t think I would like this book, but the more I read the more I enjoyed it. The story kept me wanting to read more. I’m a slow reader but this book kept me so interested that I read through it really Quick.

Although, this is a very well written story that takes three oddball kids into a new world where they become very important with new powers that they didn’t know they had where millions of creatures depend on them to save not only their world but the world the children come from as well. What drags off of the star pedestal for me is the pacing. It just felt very rushed at times, as it is only 170 pages. The story was quick and easy to read.

The story itself was fun and definitely kept my attention with many twists and strange occurrences. It wrapped up in a satisfying way, and left room for a sequel without leaving you hanging.

Overall, This was an enjoyable and fun read. I’d recommend this story for those about 8 and up who enjoy science fiction & fantasy.

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ARC Review: Countless by Karen Gregory

CountlessCountless by Karen Gregory
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: May 4th 2017
Format: E-Book
Pages: 384
Rating: 4
Date Read: 26/06/17
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depossitory

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Sarah Crossan.  

I received a copy of Countless from Bloomsbury Publishing for review Consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Warning: This book and review both talk about eating disorder, please do not read on if this may trigger you in any way.

This is a contemporary YA with a difference. There is little romance. There is no magic cure for the problems that arise. The protagonist is no special little snowflake. This is a very real and raw portrayal of a very real issue. It battles mental health, family dynamics, social stigmas and self-image in one poignant story. Nothing is romanticised or sugar-coated.

Countless is a heart-breaking story about a very troubled seventeen-year-old Hedda who has been in and out of hospital most of her life for anorexia and now finds herself pregnant. It’s not a pleasant story but it is an important one that doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of mental illness and teen pregnancy.

“So this is the deal I’m making: Nia and I call a truce. When the baby is safely here and I’ve found it some proper parents, then Nia can have me back. All I have to do is eat for seventeen weeks and then everything will be like it was before.”  

Hedda struggles with the decision of what to do with the baby once it arrives, and in fact most of the book was about what happened to Hedda after she had the baby, and the financial struggles as well as her struggles with her eating disorder. Pressure is put on her to eat meals & she comes to a compromise with Nia (her name for her Eating Disorder), that will allow her to eat for her baby’s sake until she gives birth.

The cover includes the phrase “Love means holding tight. Love means letting go.” And ultimately, that is what Hedda must do. Love for others matters, but so does self-love. And if we aren’t capable of that, how much can we really do for others anyways?

“Most of the time, what I’m sure of is that people will let you down so it’s best to give them a push in that direction sooner rather than later. People are pretty predictable.”

This gave a really honest insight into being anorexic and how hard it is to fight your own demons. The way in which Nia was always there looking over Hedda’s shoulder, ready to pounce and spit out spiteful names at her was something that really got me because it was such a powerful way to show the world just how life consuming having an eating disorder is.

This book is beautifully written and deals with such a raw and complex subject matter in a really authentic and meaningful way. This book is a very difficult read and I imagine that for someone with personal experience it may be difficult.

It took me quite a while to read this book. Not because it was bad – far from it. It was just a very hard read but was about a subject that is very important to read and learn about. This book was just an immense rollercoaster.

I really did like the character of Hedda though. She knew what had to be done and even though she was slightly stubborn at first, she had amazing character development and recognised that she had a support system around her that would help her with anything. 

The book really shows the horrible way eating disorders can work – you know it’s causing problems, and you try to pull yourself out of it, but it’s your normal, it’s your control, and there’s a comfort in that, even if it’s not healthy. Anorexia is Hedda’s normal, something she’s dealt with most of her life, and even though it’s damaged her relationship with her family, her body, and her education, it’s something that’s always been there with her.

Although I found this book overwhelmingly sad, there is hope – I won’t go into too much detail but the ending does give a glimmer of hope, which is much needed after the heart wrenching events of the novel.

Image result for countless by karen gregory
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Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan

We Come ApartWe Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: February 9th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Poetry
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Rating: 2
Date Read: April 26th, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

From two acclaimed authors comes an emotional story told in verse about friendship, love, and overcoming unbeatable odds.

Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

I received a copy of We Come Apart from the Publisher for review Consideration. This in no way influences my opinion of this book.

We Come Apart is about two young people trying to find their way through a turbulent life in a poor district in London where violence and crime is a part of their daily lives. Nicu – a Romanian boy awaiting an arranged marriage, and Jess – a British girl with a really violent and ill tempered step-father whose paths cross when taking part in a Reparation scheme after both get caught for theft. Both find comfort in each other and bond over their pain and their friendship turns to romance and they see hope in each other.

This novel is written in verse, which therefore made it a quick read. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped, but it was an okay read. I felt that the characterisation was lacking is places, perhaps due to it being such a short read, so I felt that the characters and the romance were not as fleshed out as they could have been.

The writing was very mediocre. Verse is usually a hit or miss with me. This unfortunately was a miss for me. It just didn’t add anything to the book. I did like how it was quick. Verse usually skips all the waffle and jumps right into the story and focuses on what’s important so I enjoyed that aspect but on a whole, it was just okay.

The premise of the story had me hooked though, and while parts of it were great, I felt there was something lacking. I just would have like more depth to the characters and more to their story. This was an up and down book for me. I really liked how it was told in verse from dual perspectives.

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ARC Review: Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan

Stargazing For BeginnersStargazing for Beginners by Ursula Dubosarsky
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: April 6th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Rating: 2
Date Read: March 26th, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon | Authors Website

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.

And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.

I received a copy of Stargazing for Beginners from Bloomsbury for review Considerations. This in no way influences my opinion of this book.

Meg is a science geek who dreams of being an astronaut and wants desperately to win the competition to visit NASA. Unfortunately Meg also has an incredibly selfish and immature mother. We get to watch Meg look after her younger sister and keep her own interests ticking after her mother hops on a plane and disappears for two weeks.

Who leaves their two daughters home alone for a fortnight, whilst they travel to the other side of the world? However, the event is not portrayed unrealistically by McLachlan and without it Meg wouldn’t have done what she does. The characters are generally realistic.

And even though I enjoyed the Uplifting message behind this, it failed to grab me. I struggled with this one, I found that the book wasn’t really holding my attention and I struggled to push through. It took me awhile to get through this, I just didn’t care that much about the characters.

I will say that the writing in this book is really good and I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.

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eARC Review: Inyoni Rocks by Carmen-Shea Hepburn

Amanzimtoti [2]: Inyoni RocksInyoni Rocks by Carmen-Shea Hepburn
Published by:
Publication Date: 
Series: Amanzimtoti, #2
Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Rating: 4
Date Read: March 20th, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website | Book 1

After a bleak winter break alternately spent between the snowy mountaintops of the Drakensberg and a self-imposed exile upon his return to Amanzimtoti, Wayne du Preez finds himself commencing his third term at Toti High with something akin to dread as the tangled web of secrets and lies he’s been spinning since the start of matric steadily begin to unravel.

With Kyle still circling him, and Jessica demanding answers, it’s finally left to Travis to offer his best friend an ultimatum that will set the course for the rest of the school year, and indeed, the rest of their lives:

“You tell her. Everything. You tell her now, or I will.”

I received a copy of Inyoni Rocks from the Author for review consideration. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Inyoni Rocks is the Sequel to The Ridge, a brilliant début set in South Africa. It takes up not long after the last book. The story is told in the third-person POV of Wayne Du Preez. I’ve been waiting for this sequel for a while now. I adored the first book, so I was pretty hyped up to read this sequel. I was hooked on finding out what happened to the characters and their relationship with each other. And I actually enjoyed this Sequel so much better than the first.

This book is also trigger heavy, Wayne is dealing with his problems the only way he thinks is possible, denial and self-harm. His family is horrible beyond reasoning. His only pillar of hope are his best friend and his best friend’s sister who also happens to be his girlfriend.

Wayne’s situation is so suffocating, and he is damaged by it. He has a controlling father and older brother who would hit him whenever he doesn’t act how they want him to be. His mom doesn’t even support him.

Once I got a few chapters into this book, I found it incredibly hard to put down. I was completely sucked in by Wayne’s internal conflict, Kyle’s persistence of a relationship of any form and Jessica’s unwavering dedication and kindness. I honestly loved every single character and the relationships and dynamic built between all of them.

The characters felt real, the situations they’re in felt real, I was pleasantly surprised by how relatable and realistic the characters in this book were. It was extremely easy for me to relate to Wayne and become attached to him. I loved how Wayne couldn’t just turn off his anxiety because in so many books the main character will be worrying or upset about something and they just decide to not worry and it works, but that’s so unrealistic in my opinion.

I found myself exceptionally fond of Kyle as he tried to break down Wayne’s walls. Although I appreciated Wayne’s best-friends, Jessica and Travis, I felt that the hold Kyle had on Wayne was far more powerful than the twins’ support system because it was blunt and honest. I think he’s a very likeable character.

I also love Travis and Jessica, their friendship and support of Wayne are wonderful to read. Jess is a very patient and loving girlfriend, while she questions Wayne and worries about him, she also gives him space when he needs it. Travis worries about his best friend too, but he also loves his sister and would do anything to protect her.

Other than the intensity of Hepburn’s novels, my favourite component of this was definitely the writing. It is so beautiful. A lot of her descriptions were so vivid. She also did a great job of showing, not just telling, the constant internal battle that plagued Wayne. Hepburn did such a good job of characterization and such a beautiful job of writing this book.

Carmen-Shea Hepburn has taken on a subject matter most authors shy away from. It is not a fast-pace, action-packed kind of story. It is contemplative, inquisitive, dark, and brutally honest. The author expertly portrays the suffocating grip of self-hate, and the emotional roller-coaster of denial.

The only problem I had was that this book felt a little repetitive after a while because of similar descriptions and words used a lot. Also, I felt that too much time was dedicated to Wayne’s internalised homophobia and self-harm and anxiety issues. I understand that this is incredibly important, and I loved that it was in the book, but I believe we saw one too many instances of it. But again, it is incredibly important to see these issues discussed and described, especially in the case of teenage boys.

This book explores the awful struggle of anxiety in a realistic way. This is not an easy topic to write about convincingly, yet the connection between the writer and the character is extremely strong throughout the book.

I also loved the exploration of Amanzimtoti, not just hearing about the beaches but getting to know the people and places in general. I really enjoyed being able to read about a quiet little coastal town and seeing it through the eyes of its inhabitants. (Also, check out the interactive map!)

Overall, I really loved Inyoni Rocks and it’s quite a memorable read. I really enjoyed the experience of this book and the final outcome, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions but in the end felt so real and raw. The book is so vivid that there is not one single point that I couldn’t visualize what was happening.

The Ridge was incredible, but this one was so much better. I absolutely adored this book! It fully lived up to my expectations. This book will forever be one of my favourites and I can’t wait for future books in this series as well any other books Carmen-Shea writes. So I’m looking forward to the novella coming out and he third book in the series. I truly look forward to reading more from Carmen-Shea. I’m sorry for this extremely long review.

Here are some of the trigger warnings: Panic attacks, Self harm, suicide, homophobia, mentions of violence and alcohol, references to child abuse. Generally I would say this book is for mature audiences only – there is quite a lot of strong language, some violence and also casual use of alcohol and drugs. It could be incredibly triggering.