Sunday, November 15, 2015


Hi Everyone, Welcome to my first SST post! Yes I've been a member of the Sunday Street Team for half a year and this is my first post. *shakes head in shame* Sorry Nori. But Nori who is part of the reading club and signed up the minute she created it. She is such a brilliant blogger and to orgainse this. So the author of this month is Charlotte Huang, and her debut novel For the Record. I adored it. It got me out of my reading funk even more too. So before I share with you my review and the giveaway, here is a little more about the book. 

For the Record
by Charlotte Huang
Publisher - Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date - November 10th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

If Almost Famous were a YA novel... a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like... until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
For the Record is an incredibly debut from Huang. You seriously do not get enough books about bands, singers or even that of a rock band. I mean c'mon when was the last time you read one. I love when I go into a book that I have no clue about or even any expectations because then you don't feel obligated to have an opinion of the book before you start. I remember reading the blurb for this in the email and I knew I would love it, but up until the point I started the book I didn't have an inkling since then. I know I've read a few review after I read the book and it does have some very mixed ones, so I'd like to stipulate that this book may not be for everyone... However it was for me. 

It's starts off with a girl named Chelsea, she's just your average, high school girl who wants to get her GED. Something incredible happened to her, she auditioned to go onto America Popstar, the American version to X Factor if you didn't know. She didn't win, but she gave it her best try and it rewarded her with being the lead singer in her favourite band, Melbourne. The only let down is, she may be the singer but she is replacing someone that meant a great deal to the band members. Each of them are having a hard time that Hollis (ex singer) was gone and even harder to accept Chelsea. Whilst they're on tour, she gets involved with actor Lucas Rivers, which put Melbourne on a whole new scale. But it's unwanted for a lot people especially for Beckett the bassist, when they both get rather close to each other.

Chelsea, has been through a lot at high school. She's not really fussed that nobody knows about the tour apart from her only and best friend, Mandy. She's the one who has stuck by her throughout the years of freshmen. She doesn't want to leave her behind, so Mandy tags along and even helps out in the running of the tour. I guess what you could say is that Chelsea is quite alone and she's happy with that but finds it hard to really latch onto to something. So when this opportunity of lifetime appears she desparate not to let it go. Chelsea is sort of a strange character to be honest, now as I write this I find it hard to grab anything about her, which I guess is where the character development lacks, but that doesn't bother me. I overlooked that aspect completely. But it speaks volumes about how the rest of the book really made up for it in comparison.

The thing that lets her down the most is Lucas Rivers, as the band like to call him, he is a d-bag. Chelsea could do way better, like Beckett. But this actor is just a tool through and through, whilst I was trying to get along with him, I knew from the beginning when and where both of mine and Chelsea's heart belong. However this stupid rule of no relationships in the band let the side down but also intrigued me. It sort of engnited the fire more between the two of them. The romance wasn't the main thing of the novel either, it was a wonderful and fulfilling aspect but I found it was the band itself that took centre stage. You have a wide range of secondary characters as you would get in a band. I loved Dave the coach driver, and the guys like Pem, Beckett and Malcolm, each of them added a layer to the background of the story and you would really miss them If they weren't there.  Despite it being flawed from the beginning with Chelsea as the lead vocalist, it for me was about the growth as a team and the respects for one another that grew between the characters. Under all that rock manship, eyeliner and clothing, they each rocked the hell out of each state either as themselves or as Melbourne

This story is a lot about the journey of band, a journey of friendships and a journey of growing together as a band and as individuals. Huang really showed off her passion of music through Chelsea's and that of the music too, I can only assume that Melbourne's creation as a group and its songs it certainly down to her. Huang has a talent and an eye from music and it's great to see expressed through various aspects of the novel. What I loved even more was the journey itself on tour, it felt that you were on that tour, state by state they conquered. It's really rather addictive too. 

It reminds me of a book group read I read over the summer, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, which is probably the only one I've read that really highlighted the musical genre in YA. It was country music, a whole new musical genre altogether but it was the friendship values, the romance and the general ambiance of the road trip. It just made your feel it. It can also be a perfect summer read, but it brightens up any rainy day, like it did to me. 

Rating - 4

Charlotte Huang is a graduate of Smith College and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, which is clearly something every aspiring writer should do. When not glued to her computer, she cheers her two sons on at sporting events and sometimes manages to stay up late enough to check out bands with her music agent husband. Charlotte lives in Los Angeles and is the author of For the Record (Delacorte, 2015)

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

REVIEW - ASKING FOR IT by Louise O'Neill

Asking for It
by Louise O'Neill
Publisher - Quercus
Release Date - September 3 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes...
My first Louise O'Neill book... and I'm failing to put it into words. All I can really say is WOW in so many ways! No I'll try and find the words. I read this book with a friend of mine, Annalisa, we work together and she said you have to read Only Ever Yours, I haven't (yet) but I will sooner rather than later. So I thought I would read her most recent and I couldn't have picked a better book to really start off my reading relationship with Louise any better. 

So before you read the review, I would like to introduce you to Annalisa. Say hi everyone, and this is our thoughts for Asking For It!

1. How did you feel towards some of the characters i.e. the parents against her brother? 
Emma (me): Grrrrrr, her parents really really frustrated me to no end. Remember I read a book for the bookclub called Something Real by Heather Demetrois, well it reminded me of that, as the main character's parents in that were certainly no better. But this novel, there was really something else to add to the frustration and anger of it all. This is realistic young adult fiction and the sensitive issues surrounding the book, well Emma certainly could have used the support of some loving parents. All they were concerned about was there reputation, and where they stand in the food chain of all their friends. They would get the pity stares and glares and they took it out on Emma. At first Bryan (Emma's brother) felt like he was heading in the direction of their parents, but the second half, I really felt a sense of gratitude and appreciation for sticking up for his sister along with voicing his thoughts to the highest volume.

Annalisa: As with many novels, my appreciation for many of the characters changed throughout the story as they developed along with the storyline. I really felt for Emma’s parents and the impact of what had happened had on their lives, but I would hope that in a real life situation, any parent would support the decision of their children. Connor and Bryan were definitely the stand-out characters for me, in terms of providing a support network and trying to provide positive solutions, even if Emma wasn’t ready to accept them. The world definitely needs more Bryans and Connors!!

2. Did you find there was support and guidance for Emma when needed? 
Emma (me): In the beginning after the what happened to Emma, there was very little support of guidance, the total opposite happened, she had to deal with it ALONE!!! I mean how could she do that, all her friends thought she deserved it, that she was asking for it! In the second part of the novel, we saw some progress but certainly not from the people you would think. The harsh reality of it was that no-one helped her, not even the police, it was a long process she has to go through and one not very many people appreciated her going through. Only that of her brother and the outside support of Connor, a friend, but potentially something else also. Emma will forever be haunted by this and by the fact that she couldn't do anything.

Annalisa: Half way through the story when Emma came to terms with what happened to her, there was definitely a lack of support from her parents and friends, and I found it interesting that the only 2 people who ended up helping Emma through things were both male. Her struggle was that no matter how many people were around her and attempting to offer support, this really was her own personal battle that she had to come out stronger from. Living in such a small town made it harder for Emma, as everyone knew what had happened and formed their own opinion, despite not hearing all arguments. This is something which will have an impact on Emma’s life forever, so there should have been more people providing that support network which she so desperately needed. 

3. What did you think of the sensitive themes surrounding Asking for It
Emma (me): O'Neill certainly knows how to really condense the impact of humanity in one story. A dark, unnatural side to humanity that we are really afraid to understand or even admit. It's a side to literature that people will just dismiss thinking 'do I really want to read this?' In answer to your question you definitely should. We need to know this. What really helped as well was that I went to a panel about Trigger Warning and reading novels with sensitive issues surrounding them. I found it so interesting but also so relatable that I understood the book even better. I could see from both Louise's and Emma's viewpoint more clearly.

Annalisa: Asking for It is definitely a book which needed to be written, and I’m so pleased it was O’Neill who tackled this topic head on. Many would find it difficult to deal with the issue of sexual consent in a sensitive and real manner, but O’Neill has achieved just this. Whilst it was difficult reading at times, I think it had to be in order to make it believable and really make readers see that ideas around consent need to change. The more we read and talk about these issues, the more susceptible people will be to change and think about their actions and the actions of others, especially for young people. 

4. How did you find Louise O'Neill's writing style? 
Emma (me): This is my first of O'Neill's writing as you know and I felt that this is a really strong and captivating start to her reading relationship with ones' self. She such a refreshing and honest and I love how she reminds me of Holly Bourne's novels too. It's more that she shows the dark side of human nature and that of the world, it's seeing how Emma's experience is realistic and how she manages and faces it. It's been a learning curve for me and one contender of realistic young adult fiction.

Annalisa: Once again, O’Neill has captivated me from start to finish. Only Ever Yours is one of my favourite reads of 2015, so this had a lot to live up to, and it definitely met my high expectations! I liked the ‘real’ setting and always tried to read this story with my feminist /human(!) hat on. I sympathised with Emma throughout and found all the other characters completely believable, and the representation of young people was spot on. 

5. How did you react to the end? 
Emma (me): I wish a lot things for Emma, I wish for her to be happy and for her to be happy with Connor. In a way I wish she didn't back down to her parents, so whilst my initial reaction was WHAT THE HELL? and deep frustration and confusion, if you think about it O'Neill has done is 'real' ending. In the end, Emma has a long way to go yet the end is only just the beginning of what is a long recovery. What also helped was O'Neill's Afterword (which I really appreciated), she knew what she wanted to do and I understood and knew that in the real world, this very minute we don't hear what needs to be heard. We need to face it, it's an ugly world and there's not always a happy ending. But sometimes a content one like Emma's.

Annalisa: I completely understand the lack of resolution, and actually feel it added something to the story. it mirrored real life in the sense that so many cases like Emma’s will end under similar circumstances, because victims are too scared or under too much pressure from those around them. Ending the story in this way just goes to show that we have a long way to go in terms of rape convictions, as we are not surprised by the treatment Emma’s family gave her.

Emma (me): 4
Annalisa: 4

Monday, November 09, 2015


Hello Everyone, it's been a while since I've written a review and it's good to be back. I apologise in advance if my review isn't up to my normal writing standards. Still trying to get back in the swing of things. However, this particular book got me out of my reading funk to so I'm indebted to this book. I'm very excited to be part of this tour I adored this book as you will know from my review below, plus I'm giving a copy so you can fangirl alongside me too. But first here is a little more about the book. 

Dangerous Lies
by Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Release Date - 10th November 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…
Estella Goodwin is on the run. After being put into the witness protection programme, her mum in rehab, her boyfriend also in protection, and a cartel drug dealer wanting her dead. Now Estella is missing and out comes Stella Gordon. Stella now has to live the summer in Thunder Basin, a place so remote and empty there really isn't anything to do. No friends, no family even though she didn't really have one before. It's an escape, not attachments, but in the end it could be a fresh start for her. But when she settles into Thunder Basin little did she know she would run into trouble in the form of Trigger, the towns star baseball player, a complete douche and bully of the cruelest kind. Stella gets herself in the middle of things with Trigger which send hers in all kinds of danger especially when he starts to dig in Stella's past.

Stella witnessed a murder in the confines of her own front room, of course she is scared and thought of being ripped away from her boyfriend leave her feeling hollow inside. I don't blame her that being sent to the opposite end of the state outs a curveball in her senior year and her life. It would pretty much suck to be honest. Stella is a very guarded character, she does give herself away very much until the end of the book, which I liked. I liked that we broke down to her gradually and it wasn't instanteous. I mean she's a new person after all and it takes a while to really get to know her. I think with this story you have to patience till you get the full picture. I find also that when a character such as Stella is brought up in such a rural area as Thunder Basin, it's like your living and breathing to the simplest of humanity. It's the simple acts of nature that shows the rawness to her character being stripped to the bone that she once was as Estella. I think when she stayed with Camille, something changed in her, with Camille care and gentleness but also her routines and strictness that made Stella realise another path to human nature as well. She found herself caring and also finally realising that she's got something she never had before, a family. But above all falling in love... 

Oh the romance, queue the fan ladies, you are in for a treat. Whilst Estella was attached from the beginning, I didn't really get to know Reed so I wasn't   emotionally connected or felt that he had any real connection or even fulfilled Stella as a character. The only reality that he even existed was through the letters she would read in order to keep some semblance of the life she used to have. But I guess you have to realise is that was Estella and Reed. That is a past life. Now Stella is a whole new person, she is starting a blank new canvas. To help fill in those bright and hot spots she has Chet. Wow wee. Chet Falconer, is also as honest and raw as they come. Those eyes of his have seen and witnessed a fair share horror and pain. Being a parent to his younger brother is hard when he's an rebellious one at that, especially after losing both of his parents. Chet is innocent as it comes when it comes to love, so when his eyes set themselves onto Stella, he was in for ride. The hard part was she isn't who she says she is. But the reality was that he didn't care, because he knew that in those few weeks she had let her guard down, he knew he was already there. It was a pleasure and heart-warming to read such a relationship as it reminded me of the love I have around me. I love when a novel really connects not just to you but to the desires of the heart as well. 

Fitzpatrick's writing is really rather addictive. I think the combination of the her writing style and the thrill of the chase with the plot line It was a page turner. Combine the thrill and near experience with some steamy romance and you got yourself a killer of YA story. For some reason though I felt that her writing was so much better from what I (briefly) remember from the Hush Hush series. Although I really need to read the others or reread them to get he full experience of her writing. I think this sort of contemporary suits a lot more authors than others and that's Becca Fitzpatrick.

Becca Fitzpatrick and I haven't really had a long relationship in terms of books. Long long ago I read Hush, Hush and I have to say I haven't actually read the rest of the series nor do I remember very much either of it. So I took the opportunity of reading something totally different for the change. I haven't read Black Ice yet which I know it is of a similar genre, so I will take that as my next venture. But what Dangerous Lies reminds me of is Katie McGarry's Nowhere But Here, with the characters and also the background of the story too. That just made it even more brilliant. I'm not saying it's the same but I do love a thriller romance such as this.

Rating - 5

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It will end at the 23rd November!!!
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