Saturday, July 18, 2015

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY- EMMY & OLIVER: Q&A with Oliver


Hi Everyone, I am very excited to be part of the blog tour of Emmy & Oliver host by the lovely Simon & Schuster publishers. I read this book earlier in the year and I adored it. It really is an exceptional, unique contemporary of an "enjoyable, heartfelt and simple telling of a friendship worth saving and rekindling into something much more." Here is my review of this novel, I totally recommend it! Today I have a special interview with the amazing Oliver and a giveaway, so make sure you read on at the end. What I really wanted from this tour was to find out more about Olly and now exclusively on my blog, you can hear it first here.

But first here is a little bit about the book...


Emmy & Oliver
by Robin Benway
Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date - July 16th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Oliver's absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you're shaking.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he's not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy's best friend. Now he's the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger - a totally hot stranger! - with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about.

But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles - impossible to fit together?


















Hi Oliver and welcome to the blog, how are you today?
I’m good, thanks!

How’s that surfing coming along with Emmy?
It’s…well, let’s just say that Emmy is the better surfer by a long shot. But she’s really patient with
me and it’s always fun to go out in the water with her.

For a lot of us readers we are very intrigued by your story, I know this must be very hard for you but could you tell us what it was like in those 10 years of your life?
I know people want to hear a dramatic story, but really, it was just my dad and me living together. He felt like my best friend and my hero because he raised me by himself, so when I learned the
truth about the fact that he actually took me from my mom, it was just surreal. It still feels like a
dream, in some ways, and I really miss him. We had a lot of fun together, but it’s been really nice
getting to know my mom again, too.

We saw a glimpse of you at age 10,  how would you describe yourself then?
Really skinny, probably reading a Harry Potter book, and watching nature shows on the Discovery
Channel. I was also really into watching old movies with my dad. He would tell me all about them
and I thought he was the smartest guy in the world.

What were your feelings toward Emmy when you said ‘Yes’ on that note in class?
Honestly, I don’t really remember that note at all. I just remember seeing Emmy for the first time
when I came back home at seventeen. She looked sort of familiar, and I felt like I SHOULD
remember everything about our old friendship, but I didn’t. She says that she’s the memory-
keeper, and now it’s my job to make new ones. I’m okay with that.

When you look back now, is there anything you wish you could change or miss?
I really wish that I had grown up with my mom, obviously. I missed her like crazy when I was little, and even when I grew up. And as annoying as they can be sometimes, I wish I had been there
when my little sisters were born. I grew up as an only child, and I missed having people around. Be
careful what you wish for, though! Molly and Nora can make me crazy, but I love them.

We’d love to know how you and Emmy are at the mo?
We’re good! She’s also standing over my shoulder as I type this, and she wants me to say that she’s the best girlfriend in the world. Which I would say even if she wasn’t standing over me, but
she looks sort of threatening right now. (Just kidding, Em!)

Any future plans?
Spend time with my mom and stepdad and sisters, become as good a surfer as Emmy, go on some college tours in the fall, and maybe get Drew to let me borrow his beloved VW van once or twice
before summer’s over. (That last one will never happen, but a guy can dream.)

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and do say hi to Emmy for us. :)
Will do, thanks!

Don't forget to read on to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Emmy & Oliver....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

REVIEW - LYING OUT LOUD by Kody Keplinger

Lying Out Loud (The DUFF #2)
by Kody Keplinger
Publisher - Hodder Children's Books
Release Date - July 2nd 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel!

Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with— secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.

Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand—a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?
Lying Out Loud made me LOL every step of the way. Pun completely intended. I read The DUFF only a few months ago before the film comes out, which I haven't seen yet, and I absolutely loved it. Kody Keplinger really tackles high school life and diverse nature we all live in and she didn't fail in her companion novel...

Sonya and Amy have been best friends since childhood, they are nothing a like but they had something each of them needed to complete themselves. Amy brother of Wesley, (yes the famous Wesley of The DUFF) is painfully shy, rich girl but she has a heart of gold on her. She even let Sonny live with her when her mum kicked her out and her father in prison. They are inseparable, so when Sonny's car breaks down, Ryder Cross comes to the rescue. Ryder a new kid from LA has had a crush on Amy for a while. It's when he starting emailing..that it gets interesting. Amy isn't interested and she expressed that in a reply with a little help from Sonny of course. Though when Sonny borrows the computer, they start IMing, only to realise Sonny is actually talking as Amy. An unlikely relationship sparks between them however, will it come between Sonny's most important things in life.

Sonny is by all means not innocent in a lot of things, she is indeed queen of lying.  But whilst some of her lies are quite pathetic and damn right annoying, she has a reason, a good and heartbreaking one at that. I got her from the beginning. I'm not saying I lie but I understood why. What I loved about her was how believable her character was straight away, she didn't beat around the bush, her bluntness really defined her for me in a good way. This really complemented her with her relationship with Ryder and her friendship with Amy. All her life she has practically been alone and her mum has swanning off, here there and everywhere with numerous guys. Sonny got used to it, she told one lie and then two and she couldn't stop. Lying was a surviving mechanism to her a way to conceal the truth but mainly her truths and acknowledging them. 

What was great is that we had Amy back, Wesley's younger sister. In The DUFF she was very shy and that still hasn't changed, It hasn't changed that she adores her brother like anything. But Amy is also very different, she's kind-hearted, beautiful (shocker) and intelligent, she doesn't has have a bad bone in her body. She will do anything for Sonny too, she wouldn't be without her. But when Ryder Cross comes between them, they become distant and this is quite foreign for Amy, she hasn't known anything to really change. In a way I wish we got to see her perspective too, to really get a sense of their friendship and that connection that we did with the previous book. 

Ryder started out as a bit of an arse, you could tell that with his blatant act of trashing Hamilton whenever he had a chance too. He totally undermined everyone. He spoke before he thought about it. Ryder also comes from a family of politics so I guess, instantly you could have a real disliking against him, I think I did. But I think that was intentional from Kody's perspective of creating Ryder's character. His bluntness and being confrontational at times was his copying mechanism like lying was to Sonny. 

When Sonny first started her relationship with Ryder through IM it reminded me of the film You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks! Anyone know that film or is that just me!? Regardless that she was posing as Amy still, in each of the those conversations she was revealing a layer of her persona everytime. This was good for her. She didn't realise how much Ryder had an influence over her in a good way. Sonny realised this was wrong to Amy though, she struggled with the truth at first, but she made the effort to do a truce with Ryder (in person) and actually get to know him for real. Together they were far more a like, and together they tried to comfort and help each other. In a way like Amy, Sonny and Ryder complimented each other in different ways.

It was great going back into Kody's writing. What Kody did with Sonny, Ryder and Amy was build her characters based on the realistic stereotypes of teenagers and I love her for it. Kody has brought around another novel of positive messages, in The DUFF it was sex in a positive and realistic light, in LOL it's diverse relationships, being yourself and also building or rekindling relationships with lost members of your family too.  Kody Keplinger is a positive voice of teenagers and young adult. 

I'd also like to share my favourite quote which I shared on my Instagram...
"'Have you read all of those? Or even half?'
"It's more of a collection" she said."
This is what I should say to anyone who complains about my bookcase. LOL!

Rating - 4

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

REVIEW - EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word 
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher - Disney-Hyperion
Release Date - June 16th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
I was first introduced to Tamara's writing through Time Between Us one of my first time travel contemporaries and I loved so when I head about Every Last Word, I can't deny that I didn't hit request straight away. However this sort of contemporary you really have to be in a particular mood, for me I was in quite an easy going mood so it was perfect for me when Jasprit mentioned if I still wanted to read it with her and gladly said yes.

I didn't really know what I getting into when I was reading this book, only that is what a book from loyal reader of the author. Every Last Word tells a story of girl who suffers with a extreme case of OCD, known as Purely Obessional OCD. From the outside you can't really tell unless you can tell the signs, however when you who looking inside the mind of someone such as Sam is quite the emotional and quite fascinating experience from a readers point of view. Sam is consumed by ugly thoughts, overthinking thoughts as well as the obsession of the number three. She doesn't now why, she just does. When summer breaks up she has to choose between Summer-Sam and Samantha. Then she meets Caroline...and everything changes, finding inspiration in the words and thoughts of a small group known as the Poet's Corner and a boy named AJ Olsen.

Sam hides a part of herself, a self that she doesn't have any control over yet. Her psychiatrist is trying to build to that as her goal as well as going for a swimming scholarship. She has always known that being a part of her friend's circle that she has to be someone who is exceptional and an expectation of their rules. She has to make new friends, be try and be this person that she and Shrink-Sue want her to be. The real her. When it came to her friends I hated them with a passion. God she doesn't fit in there at all, she is far more mature and more superior than them. In the end, it was down to the fact that they had changed and she is changing, evolving without them. Throughout the novel, you find that her OCD comes out in very stressful and in times of anxiety, I guess I didn't really notice it and I don't think that was the main reason of the her story that Tamara was writing either, it was for to be confident, brave and normal. For her to see it and believe it.

When Sam met Caroline, it opened up to place that was going to change her life and it did. A place hidden between walls of the prop room and the stage of the theater, a place known as Poet's Corner. A way to express your feelings, emotions, places, objects in poetry or songs like AJ. Walls covered in paper, wrappers anything that inspired them to write. The principle of Poet's Corner reminded me of Coleen Hoover's novel Slammed, it was another way to escape life but be reminded of everything around you. AJ, swimming were Sam's inspiration and that was only beginning. AJ was much more than just a friend, that had a somewhat difficult start to their relationship but there was some spark between that only they could see. AJ made her feel normal, a way that made her forget less of her OCD and more of a positive. What I also loved though that AJ was just some regular guy, he was hot in his own way, he way beautiful to Sam and that's all that mattered, there was no outside influence on him. He made Sam feel healthy, brave and strong.
"But I think you meant what you said in that poem. Did you?"
It takes effort, but I sit up straight and look right at her. "Every last word."
Tamara creates a very compelling and unique story-line, blending a very sensitive yet very realistic topic of OCD and creating such a powerful, thought provoking and beautiful novel. I guess I've read very few novels with topics of mental health, but I only see that now. This contemporary really covers a spectrum that is unknown to me but enlightening to me at the same time. I didn't have the same opinion when I first started this novel. Sam was just a normal person to me in this book, I think there is a little bit of OCD in all of us but that is human nature, with the way we organise things etc. But words such as 'normal' and 'crazy' have a definitive fine line between them for Sam and as we reach to the far depths of her mind, you can understand how she feels too, but you never truly understand unless your more connected with her than I am.

Rating - 5

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