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Book Review: "Once And For All" by Sarah Dessen

Title: Once And For All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers 
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I bought this book myself and was not gifted in any way! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine. 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants. 

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humour, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

First Thoughts
Sarah Dessen is a staple author for those books that make you feel all the feels. I've read a few of her books before I started blogging a few years ago, and since then, collected her releases. But Once And For All just appealed more to me than anything else when I saw it in Waterstones. It just had one of those gorgeous covers and intricate, delicious sounding blurbs that I couldn't help but fall in love with. So ultimately, I had to feature it. I finished it a few weeks ago but because of some busy IRL stuff, my blogging schedule has been all over the place. So I'm back with a bang!

Let me just start by saying that this is THE novel you want on a summer vacation, cooped up on a beach somewhere or at a Lake House, absorbed in another beautiful Sarah Dessen world (or maybe to take along to a destination wedding?). I finished it in three sittings, mainly because I was busy, but I would have devoured it in one sitting if I had the time, trust me. 
Despite the happy cover, our main character Louna doesn't have a bright and beautiful life. Her story is hard-hitting and emotional, working at a wedding planning business and keeping everyone's special day the best day of their lives. She wants everything to go smoothly, but it doesn't always, and the stress that she was under definitely echoes though the pages to me as a reader. Bonus; I loved Louna's relationship with her mother and business partner. They had this chemistry all together as a dynamic and it was just so realistic, you know? Like I could honestly believe every word. 
But, enter Ambrose. He's Louna's love interest and the kind of boy that's your typical bookish boyfriend material. He's charming, suave and kindhearted through and through. After Louna's bad relationship in the past, she's forced to feel like she needs to distance herself from Ambrose - so they become friends instead. In fact, they begin caring for each other in ways Louna feels bittersweet about. She can't help but remind herself he's got female attention all the time and enjoys it, but this changes the more that they spend time together. He becomes more attentive and drops the annoying act, and they click and spark like a wildfire together. Something inside Louna tells her that she can open her heart back up to love, in many forms and ways, if she believes that she deserves a little happiness, too.
I love, love, loved Once And For All. Although at times I felt it was slow, or a tad predictable (it's not hard to be in YA romances, though) I can't deny that this was such a pleasantly sweet book that I fell head over heels for. Overall, you will definitely benefit from reading this! Sarah Dessen has truly outdone herself with characters, words and romance to make your heart soar with love.


Perfect For
YA romance and contemporary fans!

What do you think of Once And For All? 

Have you read it?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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Book Review: "Dreamfall" by Amy Plum

Title: Dreamfall
Author: Amy Plum
Published: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: HarperTEEN  
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.
Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

First Thoughts
When I got this in the post, you can surely say that I was FREAKING OUT. Amy is one of my favourite authors and her Die For Me series is still one of my epic loves. If you haven't read it, go check out my reviews for them and go get it! You won't regret it - I swear. So upon reading a little and book stalking Dreamfall online, I really got into the sound of it. Recently, when it came to the top of my TBR, I was more than excited to start it. 

Dreamfall is the first in a new duology by the amazing Amy Plum. I've always been significantly intrigued by dreams and nightmares and the whole lucidness of remembering them, controlling them and knowing what dreams and nightmares actually mean, so Dreamfall ultimately sounded like it was going to gel with me completely. 
Cata is our predominant narrator, a sixteen year old girl with severe insomnia and other forms of mental anxieties (but we also meet Fergus and other patients soon). She suffers greatly with nightmares and it's noticeably distressing for her and reading about it, as I also suffer with severe insomnia and anxiety disorders, with occasional nightmares: but Cata and the other teens are very different to just your typical sleep disorders. They want out of it - and so they move to a clinic where experimental doctors confine that they have a cure. First, the teens are hooked up to these weird things that I would run from, and they begin their cure - but it goes terribly wrong, and suddenly their worst fear comes true and they are stuck in the nightmares, completely helpless. Without a way out, they have to face their deepest and darkest fears and things that have scared them for this long, to find a way to return to their reality. 
I was expecting something completely different when I started Dreamfall - something much more Die For Me, but I was surprised by a twist in this different tale. The characters are intricate and very well written and Cata and the other characters were written on point. While I didn't love it as much as I was hoping to, it was still a fierce horror with science fiction aspects that made this a genre I couldn't put my finger on - something unique and almost life-like. I totally believed the genuine terror of the characters, and Amy (queen of YA Fantasy romance?) wrote a little something between Cata and Fergus that I'm hoping to see more of in the next book. 
Overall, Dreamfall is a series I'll definitely be continuing. I was on the edge of my seat at the cliffhanger so I'm desperate to read the next instalment! If you love intrigue, steady pace and a plot to make you keep a night-light on, this is your next read. Huge love for this.


Perfect For
YA Horror fans.

Have you read Dreamfall?

Let me know what you thought in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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Why YA: the life of a Young Adult Lit Lover

We've all been there, enamoured by our bookshelves bursting with adventure, love and mystery. But have you ever wondered why you love a certain type of read? I'm first and foremost addicted to Young Adult (YA) Literature. It's my first love, the one genre I can always count on for security and a thoroughly great read. So, if you're like me and you love YA above anything else, I've been thinking about this post for a while. After talking with some fellow book lovers, I settled on the idea. Why YA: the life of a Young Adult Lit Lover, for example, all the reasons why I love YA (and you might too).

So, sit back and relax, grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and read on...

The Characters are role models
It's touch-and-go who you can count on to look up to these days. For people who haven't got a female or male role model in their lives, book characters can be a ton more reliable than celebrities that from reading on social media, can sometimes commit actions that lose a little of our respect for them. 
When I read Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After, they remained fixed in my mind as stand-up, kind-hearted girls that had my respect. When I read them, the girls were around my age (and still kind of are at twenty one) and I found myself finding myself looking up to them. They made mistakes, sure, but they were human and had this lifelike personality that made them feel like my best friends. Just because they're fictional doesn't make them any less of a role model, and I think they're pretty cool. 

The community is like family
I've made so many friends because of the YA community, mainly on Twitter and Instagram (shout-out to my bookstagram family!) and they're the sweetest, most passionate people you will ever meet. I love that I can tweet a question and get a response from people that share the same mindset. Recently, YALC took place and I wish more than anything EVER that I could have been there, but I sadly had other commitments I made months before. I'm determined to go next year, because all those tweets I saw from the event made me so book envious! But being a part of the YA community made me feel like I was there, because of all the pictures and videos and talking to people who were right there in the heart of it. I'm lucky to know some amazing book bloggers who share my great love of YA and without that community, YA would be nothing but a sub-genre - it's the people within it that create a ying and yang balance with authors that makes some kinda of magic. 

The authors get it
When I'm reading an Adult book, sometimes I just can't relate and that can make me stray away from the plot..but with YA, I can always feel some kind of magnetic pull to the characters who share my thoughts and mindset. Yes, some authors can totally miss the point of teenage and young adult years, but others? They TOTALLY get it. It just makes reading all the more enjoyable when you can relate to the main character (or secondary ones) and feel some kind of belonging amongst the plot. I'm not saying adult authors don't get it, because they do (just for adults, more than YA readers) but it's open to discussion. I remember reading the Morganville series by Rachel Caine and even though it was a fantasy novel and Vampires totally don't exist, I still felt like I shared the same thoughts as Clare, who was in college when I was reading (and so was I at the time). 

So, do you feel the same way about these things? 

Let me know in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs! I'd love to know your thoughts on why YOU pick YA. 

happy reading!
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Updates & New Content (exciting!)

Hello PLM Family! Just a little reminder I'll be starting my WHY YA post very soon! I've been a little MIA lately (life stuff) but I'll be back with new content very soon, including new designs on my social channels featuring an artist! 

Wishing I was at YALC...

Happy Reading, 

Giveaway Time 📚💖📬


Hello book lovers! As you may know from my hinted tweets about a special giveaway today, I'm going to be giving away TWO prizes, one right here on my blog and another on twitter. You are free to enter both, if you want and to enter is completely free. The only rules are:

- COMMENT TO ENTER: what is your favourite planet and why? (mine is Saturn!)
- You must be 13+ or have parental permission to enter
- You live at an address where mail will deliver (no PO Boxes)
- You are not a giveaway account (I do check!)
- No cheating, or entering for a friend. Please enter for yourself. I will only send prizes directly to the winners name that they entered with. 
- Have fun! This ends 10th of July.

This giveaway on Pretty Little Memoirs is for the lovely THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by the lovely Nicola Yoon. If you're interested in the giveaway below, too, don't forget to enter on twitter! All you've got to do is RT and Follow me on there to enter it. 

So don't forget to COMMENT to enter and read the rules to win and head on over to twitter to enter my other giveaway! 

happy reading!
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Book Review: "Royal Bastards" by Andrew Shvarts

Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Published: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion  
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

First Thoughts
I am always looking for something a little different to place into my reading habits, and Royal Bastards looked like just the thing. When I was approached about considering it for review, I was SO ready to read it, only sceptical about the title (just because I don't swear, myself, and because I know that it's not the cleanest of words in itself) but I never judge a book by it's title or cover - it's what is inside that matters, anyway. So if the title does offend or bother you, pretty please let me know and I will get it asterisked so that the post title is blanked out partially. 

My Review
Okay, okay, okay. So, Royal Bastards just totally changed everything I thought that a YA Fantasy could be - in the best way ever. I had been talking to a few blogger friends about it, and they were just as hyped by the difference between it and some of the others in the same genre, about how it's just got this kick of reality melted into the Fantasy aspect without distracting from the main focus. It's been very highly anticipated, in fact it's probably one of the fastest I've ever seen people be interested in an upcoming review for my blog. 
Tilla used to be so loved by her father as a child, but nowadays that's just a memory. Once her father discovered he had trueborn children that weren't bastards, he cast her aside. She spends her days living away from the royalty that she's supposed to be dwelling in, and hanging out with her half-brother, Jax, and the other bastards that feel the same way - cast aside and forgotten. Something that struck me straight away was just how funny this novel was? It's got a real laugh-out-loud aspect that you wouldn't expect from Fantasy and I loved that about it. It had these true friendships that through words alone, were crystal clear. When I was halfway through the book, I realised that there would be more books in the series (in a trilogy) and that was a true welcome revelation. But soon enough, I'm back into the action, after learning that Lyriana, a visiting princess, that had befriended the other bastards upon her arrival, was now fearing for her life after they had mistakenly discovered a crime. Now that they are all on the run, with prices on their heads from people they thought they could trust, they're only just learning that there's a whole lot of mayhem and chaos to come from the kingdom.
Just amazing. These teenagers, who could pack quite a punch themselves, were on the run, banded together through all of their vulnerable moments and own troubled backstories. I loved Tilla's voice as our narrator so much, because I could really feel her passion and drive throughout the story. The only thing that niggled at me was the amount of characters to keep up with, but this might get easier now that we've all been introduced to them. I know some people didn't like the love triangle of sorts, but I found it a great element to the book. Love triangles are a hit-or-miss in YA and personally, if you can write it perfectly, it can truly pay off and it did here. 
Overall, Royal Bastards is definitely one of the best Fantasy reads I've read this year. It had lively characters, a bustling adventure of death, chaos and friendship and I seriously cannot wait to read the next in the series. A huge four-star novel with the power to really get Fantasy YA fans involved - I think this series will kick up a storm. 


Have you read Royal Bastards?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or @LittleMemoirs on twitter!

happy reading!
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What I'm Reading This Summer

It seems like only yesterday that I was telling you all about the books that I wanted to read this Spring. Now, Summer has arrived! Bright nights, sandy toes and tan-lines are surely to become a fixture of this Season (remember your SPF, please!), but whisking yourself away doesn't need to be by plane, train or car. Something on your bookshelf - or on my Summer TBR - might just transport you to another world!
Don't forget to tell me what you're reading this Summer. The best way to get involved is to comment here on this post or #ThisSummerPLM on twitter (just click and it will start your tweet!) with your reads! I always respond to everyone. 

Once And For All 
by Sarah Dessen
I am head over heels for Sarah Dessen books! I mean, she is the staple YA Summer read author, right? Her books are just made for those warm nights staring out at the ocean (or at least, pretending you are). I've had my eyes on Once And For All for a little while now and I finally saw it at Waterstones in Bristol, England when I was there for my sisters birthday (shout-out to my sister, 23 Review Street!). This has to be one of the most subtle, yet achingly beautiful covers and blurbs I've read. C'mon, if you haven't got this yet, why?? 
It's set in the world of wedding planning (why am I always reminded of Bride Wars?) and for Sarah's thirteenth novel, she delves into happy, messy and perfect. 

When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon

This is the most talked about YA of the moment. All I've seen on my Goodreads and Instagram feeds is rave reviews for the amazing When Dimple Met Rishi. With that cover (how goofy/cute/intriguing/unique does it look?!) I again spotted it in my favourite bookstore. I don't know why I hadn't got this before, because it was on my TBR, but now that I have it, I can't wait to delve into those pages! It's a Bollywood rom-com! Who wouldn't want to read that?!

Royce Rolls
by Margaret Stohl
I have always been a fan of Margaret Stohl since the Beautiful Creatures days, so seeing her novels that aren't shared with Kami is always a surprise. I kept seeing the cover places and didn't connect the dots that she had wrote Royce Rolls - basically our YA version of the Kardashians meets Reality TV Gold. The cover itself is a work of art (the colours, the ROYCE ROLLS all in gold) and the description is magnetic: a laugh-out-loud LA noir packed with a perfect punch of things everyone loves in YA. This one is going straight onto my nightstand!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
by Jenny Han
Have you ever just fallen in love with a series, a character or just the way that the author writes these things that speak to your heart? This is how I feel about Jenny Han's Lara Jean series. This is a story about a girl, her heart and the journey of her life. Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the third instalment in the series and I can't say anymore right now because I'm currently halfway through this and don't want to risk spoilers by digging too deep into what happens! What I can say is that Lara Jean is loving senior year, but nothing perfect can stay...a change is coming. 

Currently book-stalking...

I don't own these two yet, but I'm hoping to get my hands on these beauties this Summer! I've always loved a feel-good book, or one with a bigger meaning and sentiment. I've got my eyes on these two in particular! 

Have you read any of the books I want to read this Summer?

Let me know what you thought in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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