Review: Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup

Frannie and Tru


When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.


I think that I knew from the very start of this book that I just wasn't going to get along with it, because Frannie, for me, was just not a narrator I enjoyed reading. Frannie was a very negative person and whilst I should be saying something along the lines of 'I really enjoyed her character development' or 'this book had meaning' I didn't really get much meaning or character development in this book. It just seemed very bland for me. A bit like the cover really.

Now don't get me wrong - I did want to read this book, although I put it down multiple times to read other books while I tried to get myself into it I really did want to like it. I just didn't like it. neither Tru not Frannie were very interesting and I didn't really connect. The whole thing was just a little boring to me, and Frannie's internal monologue, whilst undoubtedly well-written, was just pretty monotonous and annoying to me.


Overall Rating: D

Book released May 31st by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

Songs About a Girl

Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...

This is the music based book that I have been waiting for since I fell in love with the genre ten years ago. Audrey, Wait was the book that really got me into the genre and Songs About a Girl is the best in the genre that i have read since then. 

At first, I was expecting this book to be a bit meh, I was expecting a cute summer read that I really wouldn't feel particularly attached to but this really threw my expectations out of the window. I was hooked straight away - Charlie was such a great character to read about and I love the way the book touched on a lot of other things. I was so excited from the very start and I couldn't put the book down.

The thing that really got me hooked was the mystery with regards to the lyrics, Fire&Lights are singing the actual song lyrics that Charlie has seen in her mother's old journal and she sticks around the band to find out why. Whilst I did find the initial reveal pretty underwhelming, the additional twist at the end of the book makes up for that and I think there must be a second book in the series coming out because it can't end like that.  

I didn't really like Gabe, the damaged lead singer that Charlie falls for - I was much more #TeamOlly (why do I always suffer from second-lead syndrome? *sob*). Which was the only real fault that I found in this book - I think Gabe was manipulative and reminds me of a boy I used to date, it didn't end well, at all. Olly was sweet and lovely and seemed to care more for Charlie's feelings and wellbeing - he was perfect! I also wasn't the greatest fan of Charlie lying to her dad, I think a lot could have been resolved on their part of they had just like, spoken to each other.

The writing in this book was brilliant - the writing style is very modern but also readable and accessible. I love the way Russell managed to get into these different personalities, from Charlie's dad to Aimee, the school bully, everyone was individual.

Overall, Songs About a Girl was an addictive read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Despite a few flaws, this is one that I would recommend to anyone looking for the perfect read this summer.

Overall Rating: A

Book released 28th July 2016 by Hodder Children's Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims

Please Don't Tell

Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

The problem with mystery style books like this is that it's so hard to write a formulated review without putting out spoilers, and I like writing well formulated reviews.

Please Don't Tell was a super addictive mystery style book, it was dark and gritty and whilst a few of the big reveals were something that I had kind of predicted before the end, it didn't make it any less of a thrilling read. Joy and Grace were really interesting characters, I loved the before being narrated by Grace and the after by Joy, it makes it even more interesting to put the pieces together as both have their own views on everything. I had predicted the ending by about halfway through, but I still second-guessed myself throughout the whole thing.

This book took on so many issues and I really liked the way it did it. Tims didn't make a big deal out of anything but it was all there - the way there are really diverse characters dealing with a lot of stuff - it was so well done and just a testament to how well Tims writes.

Whilst I can't deny that this book did have some issues and it doesn't stand up to some of the better grittier books out there, I can't recommend this book enough to someone wanting something contemporary and dark. Definitely recommended for fans of All The Rage and similar books.

Overall Rating: B

Book released Mat 24th 2016 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken (Conqueror's Saga, #1)


No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

Kiersten White is like one of my favorite authors ever, and when I saw that she was writing a story about a kick-ass princess in the Ottoman Empire I just knew that I would legitimately die if I did not get my hands on it.

Now, I hate to be the person with the unpopular opinion but I just didn't love this book. In short, I really liked Lada and Radu's character arcs, seeing them grow up from Lada being the older one with a reluctant caring for her brother to these two siblings, completely different in personality but both painfully loyal. I liked Mehmed as a character, though I generally didn't really acre about the romance or the little love triangle which arises, which is really my main problem with And I Darken. 

What I really enjoyed though was the way politics and war comes into this story, as well as the very accepting way White takes religion - she uses it as a way to further differentiate the siblings but it doesn't become a thing - you know, when authors use a thing (think PoC, LGBT, religion etc) to make a book more daring, this doesn't do that - this takes something that could become an issue and turns it into a non-issue, I totally respect that. There is also very gentle handling of homosexuality - it is never really spoken about, it's just there and I really enjoyed that.

The thing is, whilst the characters and the things they go through are great and I can't fault those bits, I just couldn't really care about the romance, and whilst White's writing is still as gorgeous as ever (if anything it's just taken up a notch in this book). I still felt like I was meh about a big part of the book, which I absolutely hate to admit because I wanted to love this book but instead it's just around the realms of enjoy.

I think most people will like this book, and I can't completely put my finger on why I didn't aside from the whole romance thing not connecting for me, so if you want an interesting book with politics, wars, sibling rivalries at the next level and writing which can only be described as amazeballs, please pick this up. Even I can admit that it is a good read.

Overall Rating: B

Book released July 7th by Corgi Children's
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

100 Days of Cake
There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

I am so sad.

I am sad because cake. Because this book promised cake and the result was like that time I forgot to put the eggs in the cake mix and they came out like tiny little biscuits that were absolutely unpalatable. This book was like that - it just didn't work for me.

The first thing that I have to say, and the only thing that saved this book from being a DNF was the fact that Molly's depression and anxiety issues as so well represented in this book and I am all for great portrayal of these soul crushing illnesses. I loved that Molly had a great friend and that Alex was always there for her despite the fact that she is really going through a bad time - I love great YA friends.

But the rest of the book just lost me - I was pretty meh about the whole FishTopia storyline, which didn't help, but there were some parts of the book which I just downright hated. Mainly, the parts regarding Molly and her counsellor, who she has a crush on and got drunk with and yeah... I definitely spent a whole lot of that just wanting to launch my kindle across the room at the wall because no, that is not something I am entirely comfortable reading.

 Overall, 100 Days of Cake just did not work for me, because I felt disconnected from the plot. the depression was portrayed well, but I felt that the whole thing with regards to Molly and her counsellor was very disturbing and really didn't serve the book well. i wouldn't personally recommend this book.

Overall Rating: D-

Book released May 17th by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Waiting on Wednesday - 20.7.16

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Anyway, here are my WOW picks, let me know what you think and link me to yours!

This week I picked two books, the first is a translated version of an awesome sounding book and the second just sounds amaaaaaazing!

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser 
January 3rd 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

The Book Jumper
Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger—someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.

 My thoughts:
This sounds so gorgeous and beautiful, it's a repub of a book originally released in German and it just sounds like something breathtaking.


Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer 
April 11th 2017 by HarperTeen

Spindle Fire
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, Spindle Fire is an enthralling, wholly original re-imagining of a classic faerie story.

Half-sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood, a Faerie Queen who is preparing for war, a strange and enchanting dream realm—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

Spindle Fire is a tour de force fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae, and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

 My thoughts:
I love me anything fairytale-esque and this seems to tick that box so I am super excited for this one!

Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Wow, this was such a total shocker for me. I totally was not expecting to enjoy With Malice as much as I did, it was such a highly entertaining read which threw so many theories into the loop before throwing one of the best endings I've read in a long time at me. I absolutely couldn't believe the way that it ended and I loved it.

This is a book about Jill who has been in an accident in Italy and can't remember any of the accident or the weeks before it -  all she knows is that she crashed her car and her best friend, Simone, died in the accident. All she knows is that everyone thinks she killed Simone deliberately and the facts don't really help her case. You'd think this book would be full of flashbacks, but the image of what happened is created by conflicting interviews, news reports and blog posts, each with their own opinions. This is just as much about how the media can bend how a suspect is seen by the public as much as what really happens.

I did feel a bit detached from the actual crime because we never actual met Simone or Nico or Jill as she was before the accident, and this book really takes the cake on the whole unreliable narrators thing. I lived all of the theories thrown around, I genuinely had no idea how the book would end but it also didn't seem random or unplanned, it just worked for me, the whole book did, actually.


Overall Rating: B+

Book released June 7th by HMH Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith

Red Velvet Crush
Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.

Red Velvet Crush is a bit of a non-story really, because despite the fact that the blurb offers all this tour excitement and drama, not a whole lot happens in this book. The main point of this book is that it's about two bickering sisters who never really get their issues sorted, so there wasn't even any real resolution.

The main character, Teddy, is a songwriter who joins a band her brother is putting together with some guys and her sister and they go on a tour to get their name out there. During the trip, Teddy 'falls in love' with Ty, a brooding musician type, there wasn't a whole lot of chemistry there and all I saw was some kind of physical attraction and then the whole book plays on the 'bad boy musicians break your heart' trope. I didn't really care for Teddy and Ty as a couple.

The main point of this book is the tension between Teddy and her younger sister Billie. Billie is an attention hog, Teddy wants to sing her own songs but Billie wants the spotlight, mean words are said, Billie does some really stupid things and then the book ends without these issues really even being addressed. I did love the way Meredith was so honest about Teddy's feelings for Billie, the way she both cares for and ultimately resents her little sister. It was so candid and that was the best part of the book, but really I just wish it had really been dealt with.

Overall, red Velvet crush was a slow and at times downright boring read, it's okay for a quick pick up and some people might like it more than me, but if you're looking for books about music and bands I can recommend many that are far better than this. 

Overall Rating: D

Book released June 14th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Shelf Spotlight - 16.07.16


Shelf Spotlight is my weekly haul meme where I talk about all of the books that I have got this week in print and ebook format!
It's based on Stacking the Shelves hosted over at Tynga's Reviews.

Not a massive haul this week, which is good because I have some catching up to do!

Also, I celebrated my Six Year Blogoversary this week and I'm giving away prizes because why not. Check out the giveaway here!

Now without further ado:

Edelweiss

Aftermath  Three Truths and a Lie


NetGalley

Holding Up the Universe


So there's my selection for the week, now show me yours!

Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough


13 Minutes

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don't remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this - it wasn't an accident and I wasn't suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I'm sure of it. But that doesn't mean they didn't try to kill me. Does it?



Lately I've been super into mystery style contemp books and when I saw 13 Minutes I just knew that I needed to read it. This book only took me a few hours to get through because I barely put it down the whole time I was reading it. I was so gripped and there was no way I was going to get distracted before I found out what happened to Natasha.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the fact that the plot itself was this big mystery with loads of twists and turns and secrets, but the characters are pretty much relateable - there are the popular kids who sneer and whisper but have their own vulnerabilities (like Natasha), then there are the kids that have smaller friendship groups (like Becca) but still can be happy that they have a few people, then there are the really lonely kids with just one or two friends who act as the laughing stock (like Hannah), the kids who nobody really notices until they aren't there anymore. The characters themselves really worked and they carried a story which may seem a little bit... insane... otherwise.

This is quite a twisty book as well - just when you think you have figured everything out there's a curveball thrown and you don't know who to trust and who to blame. It was extremely well executed and despite a few small failings with regards to inconsistencies the ending seemed really justified. I can't say much more than that, but it was good.

Sarah Pinborough is clearly a great author as well. She wrote a brilliant story and great characters and the writing itself was really good, she really got me absorbed in the story and it was very well done.

Overall, 13 Minutes was a very well written, twisty story. I hesitate to make any comparisons normally, but I can definitely say that this is like Mean Girls meets The Heathers meets Gone Girl. A brilliant book that I really did enjoy. 

Overall Rating: A-

Book released july 14th 2016 by Gollancz.
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Girl In the Shadows by Gwenda Bong

Girl in the Shadows

Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her pursuing magic.

When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.

But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.

Gwenda Bond wrote one of my favorite books ever, The Woken Gods. So when I heard that she ws writing a circus themed book I was absolutely on board. There seems to be some criticism out there and whilst I agree that Girl In the Shadows wasn't as amazing as I had hoped it would be but it was still a really enjoyable read.

I absolutely loved Moira as a character. She knew what she wanted and she wasn't going to let anything stop her - she was so fun to read about and I actually felt like she was fearless andirealistic. I also really liked Dez, despite his lying and blatant character flaws. I could tell that he really cared for Moira but he was also loyal to the other in his life. I was expecting some sort of love triangle involving Raleigh but it never reared it's head so yeah, that made me happy,

There were also some brilliant supporting characters; Nan Maroni, Dita, Jules... they were all pretty awesome and interesting as you would expect from a circus cast.

The magic storyline was quite slow but I did enjoy how everything resolved itself. 

I did feel o some degree that this story didn't really dip as deep into the lore and depth that it really had to potential to. That being said, I did really enjoy Girl In the Shadows even if it didn't meet my The Woken Gods expectations.

Overall Rating: B

Book released July 5th 2016 by Skyscape
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Book News: THIS SAVAGE SONG SEQUEL TITLE!!!

I really enjoyed This Savage Song when i read it a couple months ago.

So anyway, a couple of hours ago the lovely Victoria Schwab announced the title of the sequel: 


Isn't it perfect?
The alliteration, the darkness of it all?
I'm not good at putting descriptive words together, but I just think it works so perfectly and I genuinely cannot wait to read the book.

What do you think of the title?

Waiting On Wednesday - 13.7.16

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Anyway, here are my WOW picks, let me know what you think and link me to yours!



Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields
January 7th 2017 - Random House

Poison's Kiss (Untitled, #1)
Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.


 My thoughts:
This sounds like super thrilling exciting read and I love the idea of the alternative setting - not sure if it's going to be an all out fantasy or fantasy set on our earth, but either way this could be absolutely awesome!

Top Ten Tuesdays: Ten Facts About Me


For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!


I was unsure whether to do personal or bloggy facts, so here are five of each!



  • I'm 23 years old, and a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geography which I will probably never use in my whole life! That picture up there is me and I think I look like a chipmunk.
  • I live in a city in the north of England called York, I moved here for university like four years ago but can never see myself leaving it now! It's a gorgeous city with so much amazing history. 
  • I am a massive fan of Pokemon, so I have walked more in the days since Pokemon Go! was released than I have in the months before. Pokemon Go! changed my life.
  • I get attached to things easily, so I'm a big fangirl of things. My current 'thing' is Supernatural (my boyfriend and I have gone through 8 seasons in three months). I also love K-Pop and K-Dramas... yes, I'm that girl.
  • I was sorted into Slytherin on Pottermore and I'm not gonna lie, I totally don't object. I am definitely a slytherin.



Blogging
  • I started Ink Scratchers in 2010 when I stumbled across The Book Smugglers blog and realized that I wanted people to discover my blog and use it to help them choose which books to buy. I never imagined it would get this far or last this long, but it's still going strong.
  • I have a 13 tab spreadsheet which helps me organise which books to read and what books to review - one which acts as a 'loose' schedule and one for every month where I write what books come out on one day so i can keep track of books which I 'need' to review, but I don't schedule what to review when ahead of time.
  • I'll read anything that is Young Adult but at the moment I'm leaning toward contemp and thriller type reads. I love books that bring something new to their genre though, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is like my #1 book of the last few years.
  • I never reread, which means when I read sequels I go into them remembering very little about the previous books... it's a nightmare for me.
  • I have a really short attention span so being able to concentrate on a book is the biggest compliment I can give it. For this reason, I take a bath any time I'm about to start a new book - this way i can't get distracted by anything else.
So that's all about me! I'll pop by and check out yours as well :)