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Username: Evie By Joe Sugg

Username: Evie By Joe Sugg
Published 22 Sept 2015 By Running Press

Goodreads

Summary: Like anyone who feels as though they just don’t fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself.

Despite his failing health, Evie’s father comes close to creating such a virtual idyll. Passing away before it’s finished, he leaves her the key in the form of an app, and Evie finds herself transported to a world where the population is influenced by her personality. Everyone shines in her presence, until her devious cousin, Mallory, discovers the app… and the power to cause trouble in paradise.

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I tried.

I have a lot to say about Username: Evie. As you may already know by now, Username: Evie is written by Joe Sugg, an extremely popular British YouTuber. Maybe just like every other celebrity book, you go in with some kind of expectation, or in some cases, very little expectations.

Username: Evie is a graphic novel, so really, its much easier to grasp but it came with a lot of flaws.

The plot of Username: Evie was simple. Evie is an outcast, and one day, she discovers a whole new world / virtual reality world created by her father. The new world is fuelled by positivity and was designed to make Evie feel welcomed and loved… until her cousin comes and spreads negativity and it becomes a zombie apocalypse.

One of the major problems I had with Username: Evie was the plot.There was not enough world building after Evie comes into the new world. Not much about it was explained, other than its a safe place for her. There were a lot of holes — why is her cousin like that, why does her cousin become super evil in the new world, how is she allowed to come into the world, how negativity spreads and makes everyone zombies.

You get it.

The transition between one scene to another is too fast — more could have been done in terms of world building, explaining the relationships between Evie and her cousin. Its very difficult to feel much for any of the characters when there’s a serious lack in character development and introduction.

For a graphic novel, it came with a lot of flaws, especially since its the first book in the series. I’m not sure how its going to pick up, or if it will explore more into the world and characters but it is something I hope is addressed in the next book.

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Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Published 31 July 2016 By Little Brown UK

Goodreads

Summary: The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

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Wow.

Holy crap.

I had expected nothing, and so much all at once. I pre-ordered this somewhere early July, went straight to the bookstore in the morning of July 31st and on my train ride home, I began to read. I read as I walked home, I read through the parks. I just kept flipping pages.

Maybe this is what most of us needed. A closure, and a new beginning all at once. To be able to immerse ourselves into the magical world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Or at least, this is what I wanted.

The Cursed Child has everything and more. I flew through it, partly because its a script, but also because it was so interesting. I loved how the script stays true to the older characters and the interactions between our beloved trio is still, after all these years, as heartwarming and hilarious as ever. Its so interesting to be able to see how our trio has grown up and attempt a hand at raising their own children — the realities of being a parent; the ability to understand their children, or otherwise. But above all, they don’t forget what’s been taught to them in their younger years, from Dumbledore or their experiences for that matter.

The addition and our ability to now visualise the Potter-Granger children or Weasley-Granger children is amazing. I loved that we are now given new characters that are so different yet so familiar to us. I absolutely loved Albus Potter and his unexpected friendship with Scorpius Malfoy. Its also pretty interesting to see a Potter “deviate” from the Gryfindor loving, brave and unwithering Harry Potter prototype. It gives the Potter name a breath of fresh air.

Overall, I absolutely loved Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. I hope that the play will go wordwide at some point and that we get more books to continue on from The Cursed Child. Honestly, there are fans who are against this, fans who worry that The Cursed Child will ruin the initial story — but The Cursed Child isn’t the original story. It’s a continuation, with new (yet old) characters that are familiar and unfamiliar to us. I for one am rooting for there to be more books!

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The Worrier’s Guide To Life By Gemma Correll

The Worrier’s Guide To Life By Gemma Correll
Published 26 May 2015 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Goodreads

Summary: If you’re floundering in life, striking out in love, struggling to pay the rent, and worried about it all — you’re in luck! World Champion Worrier and Expert Insomniac Gemma Correll is here to assure you that it could be much, much worse.

In her hugely popular comic drawings, Gemma Correll dispenses dubious advice and unreliable information on life as she sees it, including The Dystopian Zodiac, Reward Stickers for Grown-Ups, Palm Reading for Millennials, and a Map of the Introvert’s Heart. For all you fellow agonizers, fretters, and nervous wrecks, this book is for you. Read it and weep…with laughter

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I was so excited to discover this book on goodreads that I immediately looked it up at my local library.

The Worrier’s Guide is essentially a collection of pictures that reflect a worrier and their view of the world.

I had expected the Worrier’s Guide to be a funny tongue-in-cheek way of describing what anxiety is. Sadly, I couldn’t find it too relatable. Very little pages resonated with me, and I am someone who has anxiety. Then again, I should say that different people go through different things and anxiety isn’t the same for everyone.

The book fell short of my expectations. It isn’t a book you need, but it’s a book that you can flip through quickly at the library or the bookstore. Interesting pictures, hilarious in parts, but nothing to really hold my attention.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here By Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here By Patrick Ness
Published 27 Aug 2015 By Walker Books

Goodreads

Summary: What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

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If you’re looking for a book about superheroes, then this book isn’t for you.

I’ve never read any of Patrick Ness’ previous work, so I went into this without expectations. But now I see why people say he’s brilliant. What I like about this book is that Patrick Ness took a typical story about Chosen Ones and made it into something simpler. Something so uncool that it became cool. Patrick Ness wrote a book about a group of ordinary friends who just want to graduate. How much simpler can you get?

The book begins with a group of friends discussing graduation, and noticing a group of Indie kids disappearing. The Indie kids are described as the Chosen Ones — constantly worrying and busy trying to save the world, where all Mikey and his friends want to do is graduate and talk about that new transfer kid.

What makes this book more interesting is that every chapter starts out with whatever is going on with the Indie Kids. In a way you’re getting a story within a story that correlates and helps complete the bigger picture.

Now, if the plot is too simple for you (yeah, I know, a bunch of kids and an apocalypse plot, sheesh) the characters are going to sell it to you. Seriously. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is character-driven. I appreciate that Patrick Ness took the time to create such a diverse group of friends. They’re so diverse that they become relatable. There’s bound to be someone in the group that you can relate to, or know someone just like them. The characters are what makes the book special to me. I honestly believe that if this book was real and in present moment, we are these group of friends.

Personally, I wanted to give up on this book. The first few chapters were confusing, and slightly boring that I just wanted to return the book and move on. But I’m glad I continued reading because I became completely invested in it.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is maybe not everyone’s up of tea. Maybe it’s too simple, or too boring for most. Maybe it lacked the plot that people are looking for. But throw away all your expectations and strip it to its bare minimum — The Rest of Us Just Live Here is an average book about average people. And that’s all there is to it.

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Drama By Raina Telgemeier

Drama By Raina Telgemeier
Published 1 Sept 2012 By GRAPHIX

Goodreads

Summary: PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

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Two years ago I read Raina Telgemeier’s Smile for the #AntiBullyingReads challenge and absolutely loved it. Last year, I decided to pick up her other book, Drama and fell in love again. (Note: I wrote this review when I read it last year. Posted it on Goodreads — forgot to post it here. Enjoy!)

Drama offers the same writing and illustrative style that will be familiar to those who have read Smile. Drama revolves around Callie, an enthusiastic set designer for her school’s productions and theatre lover. Similarly to Smile, Drama not only focuses on Callie’s journey as a set designer for Moon Over Mississippi, but also touches on other relatable issues like fitting in, falling in love and acceptance.

Drama is Raina Telgemeier’s original work (unlike Smile which is an autobiography of the author), and is also told in a graphic novel format, but Drama is just as good as Smile. Drama offers the same qualities that Smile had — it was relatable, it was funny but it was also heartwarming. Drama also delved a little bit LGBT, with some gay characters and I loved how Callie had interactions with them and the different storylines that she had with them.

Drama is a wonderful book that talks about important and relevant issues in an approachable manner and I think people of all ages could enjoy reading this book. I would have given this a full 5 stars, but I knocked off 1 star because sometimes I felt that it was a wee bit too focused on the relationship aspect rather than the theatre production, though I definitely appreciate the author’s efforts in trying to bring in the theatre element as much as possible.

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Diamonds Are Forever By Michelle Madow

Diamonds Are Forever By Michelle Madow
The Secret Diamond Sisters #3
Published 27 Oct 2015 By Harlequin Teen

Goodreads

Summary: It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.

Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

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The end.

I am so sad to say goodbye to the Diamond girls. It had been such a good series. I admit, this book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It isn’t one of those action packed, super intelligent Young Adult books. The plot of this series (and this third instalment) is simple. Perhaps a little cliche, and this time, a little predictable but it is still good. I’m not going to knock it down because it isn’t what people would call an “intelligent” book.

Diamonds are Forever picks up a little after the ending of its second book, Diamonds in the Rough. After the ending of Diamonds in the Rough, I anticipated and expected a lot from Diamonds are Forever. Diamonds are Forever was predictable and its ending was a little rushed. Nevertheless, Diamonds are Forever came to a good conclusion. Everyone had their own happy endings, and I like that about this series. One of the main things that hooked me about this series from the start is the characters. Madow weaved in the different characters well. The sisters had their own colour and personalities. They are as typical as they come, but they had their own merits.

I wish that Diamonds are Forever would have elaborated more on Adrian’s back story. After the crazy revelations in the second book, it would have been good to know what really went down with Adrian back in the day. Still, the main focus of the story is about the Diamond sisters — so I won’t complain about that much.

I am so intrigued by the ending. I hadn’t expected Brianna to get her own chapter at the end, but she DID. And now I’m expecting a whole spin off based on Brianna’s story. Kind of like what they did with the Gossip Girl series, with Jenny Humphrey’s character. I don’t know if that is what Madow wants to do or has in mind, but I am all for it!

Now… can someone pick it up as a TV show already? This series is just as crazy addictive as Gossip Girl. I don’t see why it shouldn’t get its own TV series!

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Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls By Lynn Weingarten

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls By Lynn Weingarten
Published 7 July 2015 by Simon Pulse

Goodreads

Summary: They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.

But June doesn’t believe it.

June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.

But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.

Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.

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I’m a little torn about Suicide Notes. Not because it was bad, but because I just had such a hard time accepting the ending.

I didn’t dislike Suicide Notes; in fact, if anything, I really enjoyed it. The writing pace was quick and the chapters were short; the writing itself was beautiful. The premise was captivating yet simple enough for me to read without having to think. The book is written mostly in June’s perspective, which later switches with the “unseen” main protagonist, Delia. Delia and June used to be best friends — Delia is the more spontaneous friend and June is the more reserved friend. The storyline is so familiar; its been done so many times in YA contemporaries but Suicide Notes managed to make itself stand out from the rest.

Now here’s where things get interesting.

Delia is dead.

And so begins June’s journey to look for answers about what happened to her former best friend. The chapters are short and quick, so I read the book rather quickly. There wasn’t any moments where I felt like the books dragged on for too long or it was boring. It kept me interested, kept me wondering, keep me excited.

Suicide Notes had so much potential — but I failed to understand why things happened the way it did. The ending frustrated me. I don’t understand why June allowed herself to be controlled this way; why did June give in? Towards the end I wanted more of Delia’s voice because June just became annoying.

Overall, Suicide Notes is still pretty good. Its a quick read and for many this can easily be read within one or two seatings. I enjoyed it despite getting frustrated with it towards the end. I would still recommend this book; especially if you’re into mysteries. Pretty good, had potential to be even better, but hey, to each their own!

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Life Unaware By Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware By Cole Gibsen
Published 28 Apr 2015 By Entangled Teen

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the publisher. 

Goodreads

SummaryRegan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

Especially Regan Flay.

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Life Unaware was really really good.

Here’s the thing about bullying books: they are impactful. Of all the books I’ve read on bullying, this book is no different. It stands out enough to be different, yet the moral of the book is the same.

Regan is a bully. She didn’t intend to be that way, but she has her ways to getting what she wants. Regan is perhaps best explained as misunderstood. She’s sweet and intelligent, but she uses them as a weapon to maybe just slightly trample on others.

I really enjoyed Life Unaware. It was a really quick read and I loved that the drama starts almost immediately. Initially it seemed like such a typical catty-high-school-queen bee story, but the story later unfolds to reveal so much more. It explains so many of my initial questions and delved a little bit more into Amber’s back story.

I really like how the drama continues even towards the end. It made things less predictable and certainly more enjoyable. Apart from that, the whole Nolan-ex girlfriend story was just so brilliant. I felt so much for the characters in that period of time. It was one of my favourite part of the book and certainly one that touched me the most.

I personally loved Nolan and the dynamics his relationship with Regan brought to the table. I loved how he was willing to stand up for her even though they hated each other. His moral integrity is commendable.

Life Unaware is good. Personally, I feel like there is room for improvement in terms of the way pre-outcast Regan was explained / put forth. I feel like she lacked character despite being a supposed “queen bee” (or perhaps I am wrong? Correct me if I’m wrong!). Did I mention that Regan also has an anxiety disorder? I haven’t read much books with the main character having anxiety disorder so it was a little bit interesting as well.

Life Unaware is worth checking out both for its bullying aspect and also if you’re interested in reading more books with anxiety disorders!

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Love Hurts By Malorie Blackman

Love Hurts By Malorie Blackman
Published 29 Jan 2015 by Corgi Childrens

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the publisher via Netgalley.

Goodreads

SummaryMalorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds.

Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

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I’m disappointed with Love Hurts.

I was under the impression that Love Hurts would be a collection of new short stories — and in a way it was, but it was mainly a collection of excerpts from different published books. There were 7 original pieces, while the remaining 17 were excerpts. Of the original pieces, I particularly enjoyed Susie Day’s Tumbling (about two Sherlock fangirls meeting for the first time and having feelings for one another) and David Levithan’s Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat (also revolved around LGBT).

I haven’t read many of the books featured in Love Hurts; in fact, I’ve only read 2: If I Stay by Gayle Forman and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, both of which are books I really enjoyed. I was interested in a few of the books featured after reading the excerpts, but it does get frustrating because you want more, or if you haven’t read it before it becomes kind of spoiler-y and I know some readers can be very particular about that. I haven’t read many of the books, so I can’t tell to what extent the spoilers are but Love Hurts does focus on the relationship aspect of the characters, so future interactions or relationships may have been revealed ahead of time while reading this.

I definitely see myself picking up The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle and Trouble by Non Pratt sometime soon. I was particularly fond of the writing and storyline that it revolved around.

I can’t say if I will recommend this book or not, because it is a compilation of different stories and some new original pieces. If you are planning to purchase this, Tumbling and Miss Lucy Had A Steamboat is worth paying for and I wish it becomes a full length book at some time. Love Hurts might not be appealing to readers who don’t like spoilers of any kind or less appealing to those who have already read all of the books featured in Love Hurts. Considering that only 7 of the pieces are original works, I don’t really think I need the book on my bookshelf, but it is something that I could pick up and read.

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Diamonds In The Rough By Michelle Madow

Diamonds In The Rough By Michelle Madow
The Secret Diamond Sisters #2
Published 28 Oct 2014 By Harlequin Teen

Goodreads

SummaryAll-access doesn’t mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah’s YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don’t keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters’ archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow’s riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

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Michelle Madow has done it again.

Diamonds In The Rough is the perfect sequel to the much loved Secret Diamond Sisters series. Diamonds In The Rough is more dramatic; there’s more secrets, suspense, drama and an extremely powerful ending.

Diamonds In The Rough is even better than the first book. Diamonds In The Rough had better and more dynamic story arcs, in comparison to its first book. You learn more about the big secret that Adrian has been hiding, the truth behind Courtney’s birth and sheds light into Madison’s life.

Similarly to Secret Diamond Sisters, Diamonds In The Rough is also told in multiple POVs. It thought it was intelligent the way Madison’s voice has always been included in the POVs (and Diamonds In The Rough explains why!). It makes something so unimportant become important and adds a different dynamic to the story.

The ending blew me away. It makes me anticipate for the third book even more because the ending is such a cliffhanger. I really love the way the series is being done: the first book was more “introductory” and character-driven while Diamonds In The Rough was more plot-driven.

Diamonds In The Rough is fun and engaging and would definitely cater for fans of Gossip Girl. If you love teen drama set in Las Vegas, this one is for you.

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