2016 End of Year Book Survey (Tag)

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As 2016 draws to a close, and 2017 is on the horizon, I figured it would be a good idea to do a survey of the books I have read over this year.

I got the idea for this tag from my friend Ann from Ann’s Reading Corner, so thank you, Ann! ❤

The tag was created by The Perpetual Page Turner, be sure to check out her blog 🙂

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Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Book Review)

Just ListenJust Listen by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Annabel Green is “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s what she portrays in her modelling shoots. But Annabel’s life is far from perfect. Her friendship with Sophie ended bitterly, and her older sister’s eating disorder is weighing down the entire family. Isolated and ostracised at school and at home, Annabel retreats into silent acceptance. Then she meets Owen — intense, music obsessed, and determined to always tell the truth. And with his guidance, Annabel learns to just listen to herself and gains the courage to speak honestly. But will she be able to tell everyone what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends?
– From the synopsis found on the Goodreads Website

First off, I’m going to talk about the plot. When I first picked up this book, I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. What I got was definitely different from what I had anticipated, but I feel like the book works better this way. You can definitely draw a lot from this book, which is something that I really like. One song lyric that comes to mind when I think about this book is ‘And I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all’ from All Too Well by Taylor Swift. This really makes you think about how many times we have pretended to be okay because it is easier than the truth. The truth can be a massive burden for others to have to cope with. The truth can hurt a lot sometimes, and telling it to someone else can mean admitting it to yourself. And that is what Annabel is afraid of.

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Between the Lives: Review

Between the LivesBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her ‘other’ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she’s always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she’ll choose?

A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives – this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience. – From the synopsis on the Goodreads page for Between the Lives

So I borrowed this book from my local library. I was immediately drawn to it, the storyline seemed so interesting and I was desperate to start reading it after having been in a reading slump on holiday, with only access to Kindle books. I wanted a physical book to read as I found the adjustment to electronic books quite challenging, and have that effortless ease of reading when I can hold that book in my hands and flip the pages.

Oh my goodness – this book brought everything, the feels, the heartbreak, the hope and the hunger for more. I devoured the majority of this in one night, one broken, beautiful night reading in bed, the tears simply pouring from my eyes, me sobbing and shaking, so overcome with blatant emotion. At several points, I was so hysterical I almost woke up my parents. I suggest anyone about to read this book listen to Coldplay’s album X&Y whilst you read it, in particularly those last chapters. I promise it adds to the story and the reading experience, and the lyrics and music beautifully suit the plot line and the atmosphere that the writer has so cleverly weaved.

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Swapped by a Kiss: Review

Swapped by a KissSwapped by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read the preceding book in the ‘By a Kiss’ series and absolutely adoring it, I jumped to purchase this when I found there was another book set in the same world, with the focus on one of the other characters in the original book.
*DISCLAIMER: You do not have to read ‘prequel’ Split by a Kiss to understand Swapped by a Kiss, though I highly recommend reading it*

Following the events of the previous book, Rachel is finally in a relationship (though somewhat on/off) with boyfriend and long-term best friend David. Coming to the end of high school, the future is finally looking bright (not too bright; she’s ‘gothically-inclined’) for her, after a difficult and strained relationship with her mum and her dad (view spoiler)

However, just before David is set to leave for an English music festival on his summer vacation, Rachel gets so jealous of David’s flirtatious tendencies with girls – namely Jo, protagonist of the previous book, as she was said to have bonded with David as they were both Brits in America – whilst they are in a relationship. At the same time, Jo is in a seemly perfect relationship with boyfriend Albie, lead singer in local band ‘The Madison Rats’. She feels pushed over the edge by him teasing that if he was an elementalist (controlling weather and the elements), she would be a mentalist (code word for crazy). To Rachel, with quite apparent psychological trauma stemming back to her unhappy childhood, this is a punch in the gut. So, she breaks up with him in the middle of the school cafeteria.

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