The Future of Us By Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Title: The Future of Us

Author: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

First Published: 21st November 2011

Blurb:

It’s 1996 and very few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh power it up and log on – and discover themselves on Facebook in 2011. Everybody wonders what they’ll be like fifteen years in the future. Josh and Emma are about to find out. (From Goodreads, 25th July 2013)

Review:

This is the second book I have read by Jay Asher, the first being Thirteen Reasons Why. Unlike Thirteen Reasons Why I had not heard many reviews of this novel, I had seen it mentioned in hauls and such but other than that I have stayed away from reviews as all the hyped reviews of Thirteen Reasons Why led me to be disappointed.

The Future of Us is so much better, in my opinion, than Thirteen Reasons Why. This is a fun novel which tackles some coming of age issues in a unique fashion. Imagine connecting to the internet for the first time at home and seeing your future. Seeing your future spelt out in short sentences and an online profile. Facebook is on the screen. But what happens if you don’t like your future? What happens if you find out small changes lead to big changes in your future?

I loved the unique way this novel looked at learning how to let yourself love, and be honest to your friends, whilst mixed with the teenage drama that never changes, no matter what year it is. A flashback to the years before the normality of the internet and social networks. A nice mix of the past and the future. A quick and witty story, that keeps you entertained the whole way through.

This is a definite read for young adults and for those who enjoy the young adult genre and remember life before the internet.

4 out of 5

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan

Title: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Author: Robin Sloan

Publisher: MacMillian

First Published: 2nd October 2012

Blurb:

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore. (From Goodreads, 17th July 2013)

Review:

I love books about books. So was very interested in Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore and considering the hype around the book tubing/blogging community was happy to get my hands on this novel.

Clay begins work at the strange hole in the wall bookstore in San Francisco, but Clay soon realises that there is more to this bookstore. Soon we are brought into a world where books and computers combine to work out puzzles within the texts.

I found the beginning of the novel very exciting, and was pulled in by the absurdity of some of the characters and the mystery of the bookstore, but as it went on I lost interest. Everything became an argument about computers and books and I lost the magical feel that I felt at the beginning of the novel.

This is a novel that had a lot of potential but I felt lost focus. It was more the momentum of the story that keeps you going. The want to find the answer to the puzzle.

I feel that I wanted this book to be one of my favorites of the year before I even bought it that left me feeling disappointed. The turn away from a book focus to a computer focus wasn’t something that I enjoyed and feel that if I knew that was going to happen I may have enjoyed this novel more.

A book with so much potential, but falling short.

3.5 out of 5

Someone Else’s Life By Katie Dale

Title: Someone Else’s Life

Author: Katie Dale

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication Date: 2012

Blurb:

When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all…

Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own – one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all… (From Goodreads, 9th July 2013)

Review:

This is difficult to write as I don’t want to give things away, but will try my best!

I really enjoyed ‘Someone Else’s Life’ despite it not being as focused on Huntington’s Disease as I thought it was going to be. This is more a novel about a girl who finds out due to her mothers death to Huntington’s Disease that she was not biologically related and decides to search for her biological parents.

But this search brings Rosie into situations she would never have imagined, and makes her wonder are some secrets better kept hidden? Does searching for her family risk creating wounds that will never heal? Or does it bring the closure she now seeks?

Does blood mean everything? Or does a loving family growing up enough?

This is a fast paced novel, which is not nearly as long as it appears, short chapters make it really easy to be drawn in and to keep reading.

This novel brings in so many issues, but not many are in such gritty depth that I like. But never-the-less, I feel a lot of the issues were dealt with well.

This is a novel about family. Family lies. Family secrets. Family relationships. Family tragedy.

This is a novel well worth getting your hands on but if you think the main focus will be on Huntington’s Disease you will be disappointed.

4 out of 5

Thin Space By Jody Casella

Title: Thin Space

Author: Jody Casella

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: 10th September 2013

Blurb:

Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead. (From Goodreads, 7th July 2013)

Review:

I was really looking forward to this book, but it was disappointed. I worked out what was going on very close to the beginning, basically I kept reading to make sure I was correct. The writing was a bit repetitive and just wasn’t my type of book.

We meet Marsh, dealing with his twin brothers death by frantically looking for ‘thin space’ in which he can slip into to talk to him. He is tortured by the loss of his brother and we see into his mind as he narrates the novel.

Maddie moves into the house next door, she has her own issues to deal with but befriends Marsh despite the perception of their fellow school students that he is ‘crazy’. The relationship builds but do they find their answers? Can they make peace with their pasts? That is what this novel is about, two teens struggling with loss, finding friendship and trust when they both needed it.

I just couldn’t connect to this book, I found it quite bland. I am afraid to say. I don’t like giving negative reviews but I felt like I have read too many books like this before. Maybe not the ‘thin space’ aspect, but just the general formula.

Maybe a good book for 13 to 15 year old’s in understanding death and some other issues, but it wasn’t deep or gritty enough in my opinion, and didn’t deal with such issues in the way that felt that relevant in helping teens fully understand such situations….

I don’t know. I feel conflicted writing this, but I am being honest. It was a short book, and honestly if it had been a bit longer I probably would not have managed to complete it…

2 out of 5

Book Buying Ban

I have decided to go on a book buying ban. I know many of us in the book blogging world have done this at some point? I have decided that I have far too many unread books on my shelf to justify buying any more. So I know I don’t get many comments on here but I thought that maybe people could start commenting with their tips and tricks at succeeding at a book buying ban, including what broke the book buying ban.

As a collective we can start a book buying ban hits and tips guide.

One idea that came to mind is that for every 10 books I read I can buy 1. Yes that is very dramatic, but I have over 80 tree books needing read, never mind the kindle books I have!

So I have decided to go cold turkey, no new books until I have read all that have not been read. Dramatic? Yes. Sensible? Yes. Achievable? Not so sure.

I have written a list of the first books I am going to read. And try to stick to this list and be more structured with my reading. Will this help? Well lets call it an experiment, and we can try and see.

I have noticed others have started using a ‘book jar’ idea (can someone let me know who started this so I can give credit where credit is due?) Here people are putting the titles of books they have to read that are on their shelves, ones that they keep putting off from reading. They will pull one (or more) titles out of the jar, and that is a book they have to read that week or month. This is a good idea to start working through some of the books that have been gathering dust on the shelves but doesn’t stop us from buying more books.

Here is my list of books to read first:

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest By Ken Kesey
  2. Someone Else’s Life By Katie Dale
  3. Mila 2.0 By Debra Driza
  4. Witch Light By Susan Fletcher
  5. Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn
  6. The Future of Us By Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
  7. Concealed By Sang Krohma
  8. Ink Spell By Cornelia Funke
  9. Sister By Rosamund Lupton
  10. Adorkable By Sarra Manning

This list includes the last of my Netgalley books to read, well nearly. I feel that getting on top of books I have received to review is a priority. I know some people give away some ARC copies when they don’t have time to read all that they have received.

To create the above list I tried to pick a variety of genres to keep things mixed up so I don’t get fed up, which I typically do if I stick to the same genre. After I have read these books I will create another list which include the books I am in the mood to read then.

Something that is helping me is having by books that need read on display. It’s like a moth to the flame, them all sitting there screaming “read me!” This is what has made me realise that books are there to be read, not hoarded in the hope you will get round to them.

This is a challenge that I can see going into next year. It is a challenge that will take a great deal of self control. But it is something that has to be done. It is a step away from consumerism, and a step into many worlds that have been in my house without being explored.

I know I can do this. I have a system with DVD’s/Blue-Rays in which I have watched all the ones I own, only buying a few at a time and not buying any more unless they have been watched.

Part of this challenge is going to be avoiding the bargains on Amazon, especially the Kindle bargains. The other thing is The Works, it is like a candy shop is to a child to me. Supermarket book deals….again must avoid! Watching book hauls….this is something I am not going to avoid! But if I see a book that sounds up my street, it goes on a list, a list in which I can only buy off if I finish reading all the books I currently own! UNLESS I get book vouchers, or get asked what I would like as a present. This means that I can get my hands on a few books, maybe to complete series, or a book that I really really want, during this time but know that it isn’t going to be many. It means that there is a chance to get a hold of a book that I am pining for but without potentially breaking my ban, which if I do will just result it breaking it badly and buying a ton of books!

So guys! I am asking you to please help me with any hints and tips you can think off?

Appologies this is a bit jumbled but I just have to get my thoughts out there. I want to see what advice you have.

🙂

Accidents Happen By Louise Millar

Title: Accidents Happen

Author: Louise Millar

Publisher: Atria

First Published: 1st April 2013

Blurb:

Kate Parker has weathered unimaginable horrors—her parents died in a traffic accident on her wedding night, and her husband, Hugo, was murdered in a tragic break-in gone wrong. All she has left is her young son, Jack, and determined to make a better future for him, she attempts to pull her life back together. But are she and her son safe? (From Goodreads 27th June 2013)

Review:

I was slightly hesitant after I began reading and thought ‘am I reading another OCD book right after reading Addition??’ but soon I realised that this was a completely different style of book with some anxiety traits focused on but not OCD. Kate’s adult life has not been easy, and now living alone with her son Jack all she wants is for both of them to be safe, but is Kate focusing too much on her anxieties? Determined to show her in-laws that she is trying to get better for her sake and Jack’s sake she begins to deal with her anxiety. Meeting an acclaimed Scottish Statistician she begins to take a journey towards normality. Her life is getting better, her love life is beginning to heat up, but can it all be too good to be true?

I really enjoyed this book, I found it to be a bit slow at the beginning but by the last quarter it picked up speed, and a lot of speed! This is a psychological thriller that leads you along gently before erupting into pure edge of the seat action.

My best advice for this novel is keep with it. It may seem a bit slow and anxiety focused to begin with but soon you learn more and more about Kate’s life and why she is the way she is, then the pace quickens and quickens before going off into a sprint.
4 out of 5