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Review: Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Between the Lives
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Orchard
Publication Date: 7 Aug 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

he 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.


Between the Lives is one of those books that you can’t stop thinking about. It stays in your heart and mind long after you close the last page. Emotional to the extreme, devastating and heart-warming in equal measure. I know it’s going to take me a few attempts to straighten my thoughts but I will say, Between the Lives is one of those books that you want to buy a million copies of in order to force into the hands of as many people as you can. Everyone should read this book, then sit back and re-evaluate your life. Yeah it’s transformational :) Every time I think of it I want to sob both happy and sad tears.

The story-line itself was a little confusing to start with, due to the fact they you need a reason for Sabine to be leading to very separate lives. You question the mechanics of it, is it magic, is it like an alternate reality or is Sabine just mentally ill. As the plot unfolds all of these questions arise and yet they become of no consequence, you just accept the fact that this is Sabine’s reality. She lives each day twice, with very different  lifestyles. While the story is told in first person narrative from Sabine’s point of view, I felt it had a dual narrative to it. Rather than it being two different characters perspectives, the duality came from the shifting of the places/reality for Sabine.

Each life is drastically different from the other, adding to the divide in Sabine’s reality. There are good and bad qualities in both but for all their differences Sabine has never really felt as if she belonged in either. She tends to play a part, not really fitting in because she feels she can’t be herself. To a degree she doesn’t even know who she is. As an outside observer it is easy to see that Sabine is made of different aspects of both her worlds. She has fought an internal battle all her life separating the pieces of her personality leaving a gaping void. It’s a deeply profound look at who we are, what makes us – us. Including the nature versus nurture debate and fate/destiny versus freewill. Taking into account how precious life is and the impact each person has on the other people in their lives – good and bad.

It made me think that really we are all a mixture of different people on the inside, all blended together to make us unique. Sabine just hadn’t given herself the chance to discover who she really was. Between the Lives is an emotional journey of self-discovery touching on bigger issues that I’m not going to mention in case I give away spoilers. Ultimately it’s the memories we create that make life worth living, remaining in the hearts of the people we share them with.

Even though there was a twist within the story that I knew was coming it didn’t detract from how deeply the emotions hit when it occurred.  The ideal of soul-mates and a soul having the ability to recognize its other half no matter the lifetime brought a deeper level of response to the characters and their relationships. The saying that ‘home is where the heart is’ has never had such a significance.

Between the Lives is utterly brilliant, everyone should read it to give them a new appreciation of life.

Review: The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Queen of Dreams
Series: Book of Realms #1
Author: Peter Hamilton
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Publication Date: 2 Jan 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Taggie and Jemima are summer holidaying on their dad’s farm. They know just what to expect – a tumbledown cottage, sunshine and strawberry-picking. But then Jemima sees a white squirrel wearing glasses . . . And things become even more extraordinary when their dad is captured and whisked away to a faerie world.

Magical adventures await, as the two sisters discover powers they never knew they had and a series of worlds to explore. But can Taggie and Jemima rescue their dad and defeat the evil King of Night?


This book is about how two girls have a summer holiday and have gone to see their dad. However, strange things are happening in their garden. But when the evil king of night come and kidnaps their dad the story races on. The girls have found out there are things called realms (other worlds) and there dad has been taken into them.

The main character of the book is a girl called Taggie (short for Agatha). She also has a sister called Jemima. Throughout the book they go through a lot of different adventures in different realms. My favourite part of the book is when the Charmsward came along and Taggie developed her magical powers because I love fiction books with a bit of magic. My favourite character was Felix the squirrel because he was a very peculiar character. His little quirks made me smile.

The thing that I didn’t like was the use of illustrations, as they stop the mind from imagining what the characters and realms are going to be like. If there was anything that I would want to see written differently it would be the relation with the tortoise because when it came along it seemed like the character would love them and they could help each other throughout but it didn’t happen. I would definitely read a book by this author again. If I were to recommend this to another person I would recommend it to people who like magic and pupils of Key Stage 3 because there are some rather difficult words. I would give this book 4/5 because it was a good pace and you could really relate to the characters.

Review: Addicted by Tracy Wolff

Received from Barclay Publicity

Received from Barclay Publicity

Title: Addicted
Series: Ethan Frost #2
Author: Tracy Wolff
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: 15 July 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

As Chloe Girard discovers, there’s love . . . and then there’s addiction.

Ethan Frost is everything a woman could want in a man. He’s rich, gorgeous, powerful, one of the most eligible bachelors in the world.

But that’s not why I’m with him.

I love Ethan for all the things no one else gets to see: his innate kindness, his reckless spontaneity, his unwavering determination to use his brilliance for good. I love the way he looks at me, the way he touches me. The way he makes me forget the wreckage of my past and the twisted fear that still lives inside me.

But sometimes it terrifies me how much I crave him, how much I need him just to breathe. I always thought it would be my past that ruined us, but there’s a darkness in Ethan I never dreamed existed. Can we survive as his secrets surface—threatening to unravel us both?


Dear God I love Ethan, love love love with a capital LOVE ;)

This is going to be a hard review to write without giving spoilers to the main plotline; but I shall endeavour to be the angel my blog says I am, LOL.

Addicted picks up at the exact point that Ruined ends. A tangles web where the past and present collide uprooting all hopes and dreams for the future, Ethan and Chloe’s relationship being collateral damage.

I’ve seen a few reviews that have moaned about Chloe’s actions in this story, stating that she should put her faith in Ethan more. However, I would just like to point out that it is probably far easier said than done considering the circumstances. I tend to put myself into the characters shoes, so from that position it was easy to be more sympathetic to Chloe. for obvious reasons she finds it hard to fully trust another person, men least of all, in all things considered she thought she was doing what was best for both of them. Their relationship wasn’t established and she didn’t want to compromise herself at the expense of his family. Although, saying that it was clear that both Ethan and Chloe are far stronger together, they bring out the best in each other. Yes, Chloe does sometimes suffer from the affliction known as knee-jerk reaction syndrome (but don’t we all). I could definitely sympathise with her.

Having been constantly let down by the people closest to her it is understandable that Chloe has virtually impenetrable barriers. Chloe has the ability to compartmentalize areas of her life rather than dealing with the issues at hand. By not dealing with these issues she allows them to fester and infect her future happiness. The emotional distress Ethan suffered as a result was eye-opening. He outwardly appears so cool and calm that seeing this side of him only made me love him more.

Imagine if you had someone who grounded you, just being with them provides safety and security *swoon* that is what Ethan is for Chloe and I have to say, vice-versa.

While Ethan’s wealth shouldn’t be such a huge issue the memories connected to money that Chloe has add another barrier to their happiness. Add in the past and the part Ethan had in it, all adds to a bomb waiting to explode.

It always amazes me how quickly mean people are able to tap into the insecurities of others and exploit them for their own gain, Tracy Wolff incorporates this with dynamic results. Adding self-doubt into the unbalanced equation; tipping the scales by adding barriers to self belief and ultimately happiness. Pessimism rules thoughts and negativity weighs down heavily on emotions and actions.

Addicted is an intense and emotional story about letting go of the past to be able to embrace the future; entwined with one heck of a smexy romance.

Review: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Drowned Cities
Series: Ship Breaker #2
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: 1 May 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man–a bioengineered war beast named Tool–who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi’s highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.


Drowned Cities shows a world where war is raging. Soldiers do cruel things and wild animals like Coyotes stalk the night adding to the danger for everyone. there is no escape, the rescue ships left ages ago taking the peace-keepers with them. Now all that is left is the instinct to survive.

Mahlia and Mouse have managed to survive so far, Mouse having saved Mahlia’s life; so when Mouse gets captured, Mahlia decides its time to repay her debt.

This book is action packed and very hard to put down :) There is always something happening. The plot and world building are very intriguing. I have to say I was really sad to see the book end. The Drowned Cities definitely has a high recommendation from me.

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 5 Aug 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

An unforgettable love story that breaks all the rules.

When Tate Collins finds airline pilot Miles Archer passed out in front of her apartment door, it is definitely not love at first sight. In fact, they wouldn’t even consider themselves friends. But what they do have is an undeniable mutual attraction.

He doesn’t want love and she doesn’t have time for a relationship, but their chemistry cannot be ignored. Once their desires are out in the open, they realise they have the perfect set-up, as long as Tate can stick to two rules – never ask about the past and don’t expect a future.

Tate convinces herself she’s ok with it, but soon realises that it’s harder than she thought. Will she be able to say no to her sexy pilot when he lives just next door?


OK OK – takes deep breath.
Sooo I kinda stayed up all night Saturday reading this book and I have to pronounce Colleen Hoover the Queen of words that bring on all the feels. I mean ALL the feels.

I was instantly apprehensive remembering just how ugly the sobbing got when I read Maybe, Someday. With the buzz about Ugly Love being even more emotional I prepared myself in advance anxiously awaiting that point where my heart gets ripped out of my chest. I gotta tell you – I didn’t cry. You’re probably screaming WHAT? at the screen right now but it’s true – I didn’t cry. You want to know why? It’s because I would still be crying, the type of crying you never recover from. The type of devastation that there is no way back from. As the plot unfolded I had an inkling of where we were going to end up. Believe me I prayed to the god of words and plot lines that it wasn’t what I thought but just in case the niggles at the back of my mind was confirmed I couldn’t allow myself to feel that kind of pain. So I detached myself, I kept that barrier firmly in place. Don’t get me wrong I still felt the pain but I just COULDN’T do it on a personal level – I know it makes no sense but it would have just been too personal. The type of personal where you get up in the morning and kiss and hug the people you love just for being there. That totally happened by the way. Just not the personal I could take too personally – if you get what I mean. Yeah you probably don’t unless you’ve read it – which you totally should because its beautiful.

Told in dual narrative from Tate and Miles’s point of view. Whereas Tate’s perspective is the present action and interaction, Miles takes us back to events that have shaped his present situation. OH MY GOD MILES. From their very first encounter you can feel the bond between them while equally experiencing Miles’s reluctance to give/accept anything other than a physical relationship. My heart literally ached for both of them. While you question Tate’s continued acceptance of the situation, you can also understand that the bond between them defies logic and therefore, Tate can’t be judged for enduring emotional situations that would have destroyed a lesser woman.

Miles is completely broken, the reason unfolding seamlessly alongside the growth of his ‘relationship’ with Tate. As an outside observer it’s obvious just how much being with Tate alters Miles for the better. Yet his reticence causes them both more pain. There were moments of excruciating heartbreak where Miles words were like daggers through the heart, not only to Tate but through mine alongside hers. YET, yet, you know deep down that it’s so much more. The worse thing being that there was no solution nothing to get around those broken pieces until they ripped both of them to shreds.

Although Miles is broken he is also kinda freaking PERFECT. Yeah, I know I’m twisted. BUT when this guy loves, he loves with everything he’s got, EVERYTHING *swoon* It made me completely envious, what would it be like to have someone love me like that – to feel utterly adored and cherished – like the only woman in the entire world. PERFECT RIGHT?

I’m not giving more of the plot away because YOU HAVE TO READ IT. What I will say is that Colleen Hoover’s writing style is utterly, utterly beautiful – her mastery with words shines through this book. Miles’s point of view reads like a verse novel with the stunning use of word placement and creative use of white space. It is simply sensational.