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Book Review: "Every Last Word" by Tamara Ireland Stone

Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Published: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Find the Author: Goodreads 

Disclosure: TRIGGER WARNING* (read below). I was sent this book for review. As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.
A New York Times Best Seller

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.
First Thoughts
*Firstly, if you are triggered by any kind of talk about OCD and Anxiety or Depression, please be cautioned that this review talks about all three of these things, because they relate to the theme of the book.*

Review
The thing about books that touch upon OCD and other illnesses alike, is that they tend to be very hit-and-miss. Nowadays, it's very much required that an author does very thorough research into the illness before writing about it, because otherwise it's not portrayed as lifelike as it should be. In Every Last Word, Tamara does capture what it's like inside the mind of someone with purely-obsessional OCD. There are many kinds of OCD that vary from mind-to-mind, so it's always an intricate thing to get just right. As someone who suffers with a few of the types of OCD (Intrusive Thoughts related), Social Anxiety and previous Depression, I was reeled into Sam's story. 
She's different from other main characters I've read about in typical High School books. Although she is popular and has tons of friends, she hides behind the facade of her popularity to mask her pain. She reminded me of Lydia Martin from Teen Wolf, pretending to be someone else to be loved, out of fear of not being understood. Her popular friends will never understand her OCD, she knows this for sure, because one wrong move and she would be kicked off her pedestal. But when she meets Caroline and is introduced to everyone in Poet's Corner, Sam finally starts to feel normal (even though having OCD doesn't make her not-normal). They understand her and make her heart sing. But things take a turn, deeply rooted into everything to do with Sam's newfound happiness, and she's left hanging by the moment in a fight or flight reaction.
Overall, Every Last Word is a refreshing and welcomed read. Although I would have liked it to be a little more realistic, it did hit the perfect note and captured what it's like to live with a certain type of OCD. But of course, in real life there isn't a true happy ending to having this illness and having that reflected would have been a great addition. But that said, this novel truly was a breathtaking read, dealing with complex issues that were handled with grace. Tamara has always been one of the best voices in YA and it took me so long to get around to reading Every Last Word, but now I wish I had picked it up a little sooner. Four stars!


Rating & Recs
For fans of Contemporary YA. 

Have you read Every Last Word?

What did you think?

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

happy reading!
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Blog Tour / Review: "Otherworld" by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller




Title: Otherworld
Author: Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller
Published: October 31st, 2017
Publisher: Rock The Boat
Find the Author: Goodreads 

Disclosure: I was sent this book for review as part of a Blog Tour. As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

For fans of Black Mirror and HBO's Westworld, and readers of James Dashner and Veronica Roth, Otherworld is the first book in New York Times bestselling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller's new YA sci-fi-thriller series. The future is now. And the future is terrifying.
There are no screens. There are no controls. You don't just see and hear it--you taste, smell, and touch it too. In this new reality, there are no laws to break or rules to obey. You can live your best life. Indulge every desire.
It's a game so addictive you'll never want it to end. Until you realize that you're the one being played.
Welcome to Otherworld, where reality is dead. Step into the future. Leave your body behind.
The frightening future that Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have imagined is not far away. Otherworld asks the question we'll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?

Exclusive Extract from Otherworld:
Where our backyard ends, the woods begin. When I was a kid, the wilderness seemed endless; now most of it’s gone. I look for the path that leads through what’s left of the forest. The trail’s grown over, but I could still walk it in my sleep. It leads straight to one of the few old houses around here that was never torn down. The land it sits on is swampy, and until recently the building had been slowly sinking for ninety-odd years. That’s where Kat lives. I’d be there right now if she’d just let me talk to her. But these days my best friend bolts whenever I get near her. It cost me a few grand and a near-death experience with my father, but I got to see her in Otherworld. Unfortunately, in Brockenhurst she wants nothing to do with me.
Kat and I met ten years ago, when we were eight years old. My father had just made senior partner at his law firm, and he’d built this McMansion as his trophy. Thousands of trees were sacrificed to ravenous wood chippers, and our house rose near the edge of what would become the town’s swankiest gated community. We moved in on the first day of summer. Mrs. Kozmatka, the nanny my mother had hired, told me to stay on the grass in the backyard when I played outside. I wasn’t allowed to set foot in the woods, which my mother believed to be teeming with snakes, ticks and poison ivy.
In her defense, Mrs. Kozmatka was new. She knew nothing of my history. And for the first couple of hours, I gave her no cause for concern. I sat exactly where I am right now and stared at the trees. Everything seemed so much more alive in the forest. As I was watching, I heard branches snapping and leaves rustling. And then someone stepped out from the other side.
I’d been playing a lot of Harry Potter games that summer, and I was convinced it was some kind of mythical creature. It was pretty clear that it wasn’t a centaur, but I figured it could be a faun or a sprite. Even if the creature had spoken to me on that first encounter, I wouldn’t have believed she was human. I’d never seen another kid so dirty. She was covered in dried mud from head to toe. It was camouflage, Kat later informed me. And it worked like a charm. That day, when the nanny came outside, Kat took a step backward and vanished so completely into the woods that it was almost as if she’d been swallowed whole.
My tender young mind was totally blown. My family had just moved from Manhattan. The first eight years of my life had been filled with fancy private schools and playdates with kids named Arlo and Phineas. It was an ideal life, which was why my therapists had so much trouble identifying the cause of my behavioral issues. (Arlo and Phineas got their asses kicked on a regular basis.)
In hindsight, it all seems perfectly clear to me. I’d been kept in a cage my entire life. I wasn’t a kid. I was veal. And then this portal opened up in suburban New Jersey and I was offered a glimpse of an untamed universe. I didn’t tell the nanny about the creature I’d seen. Instead I spent the next few hours eagerly waiting for it to return. I was sure it was spying on me, but it didn’t set foot on my grass again. And by lunchtime I just couldn’t wait any longer. When the nanny went inside to make tuna sandwiches, I slipped into the woods to go find it. 

Review
I am a huge fan. I can say that now, after Otherworld landed on my doorstep and I darted to start it. From the get-go, it's seriously unputdownable and I was immersed by the world in an instant. It's truly modern meets futuristic, reeling in my attention. Simon is our main character. He's got a striking point of view from the start, telling us the story of his beginning and of Otherworld. His Parents are wealthy, so when he sees that a new Virtual Reality game has been created called Otherworld, he darts at the chance to get it, even if it isn't exactly gifted to him. Suddenly he's been chosen to test it as a Beta gamer for Otherworld. Inside the game, people can live their best lives and get to do whatever they would love out of life. But that's not the reason Simon wants to play the game. He wants to reconnect with his estranged best friend Kat, who used to play games with him. But soon he finds out that Otherworld isn't what it seems and it's hiding deep, thorny secrets within the false reality. They are the actual ones getting played.
I was on the edge of my seat from around the middle of the book when the action really heated up and became page-turning and fascinating. The entire Otherworld universe is immersive and brilliant, dark and had a highly addictive plot. Simon and Kat were poignant, fierce characters and I loved the dynamic between them and their individual personalities as a whole, even more. 
Overall, Otherworld is compulsive and swift, with a magnificent plot. Jason and Kirsten have created one of the best books I've read all year (and maybe longer). The amount of illustrious detail that has gone into the Otherworld world is absolutely fantastic. This can't get a higher rating from me - five stars completely. I can't think of anyone who I wouldn't recommend this to. You will be missing out if this isn't on your shelf this year!

Rating & Recs
For fans of Young Adult Science Fiction! Perfect for younger readers and older.



Be sure to check out the OTHERWORLD tour dates before and after my own to get in on the excitement! 

You can buy OTHERWORLD here and here. Keep up to date with all things Otherworld here!

Have you read Otherworld?

What did you think?

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

happy reading!
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Book Review: "Renegades" by Marissa Meyer

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

Title: Renegades 
Author: Scott Reintgen
Published: November 7th, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Find the Author: Goodreads 

Disclosure: I was sent this book for review on NetGalley. As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
First Thoughts
Since Renegades isn't quite out yet and I have a lot of friends and PLM Readers who haven't read it yet, I'll make this review spoiler-free! Back on to my first thoughts...I'm totally guilty of owning the Cinder series from Marissa and not read it yet. I have read parts of her writing over the years from excerpts and book previews, and know that she's regarded very highly in the YA world. So, I have high expectations!

Review
I love a good superhero TV show or movie, but they are extremely hard to get right in literature (not including comics). But when I started reading Renegades, it had some of the best story-building and I loved that it had a ton of diversity (something Bloggers have been pleading for writers to actually write about and make them Mains). I got a ton of Superhero vibes from the characters that reminded me of some Marvel vigilantes and heroes we see on the big screen, and in Renegades, the powers and abilities are dynamic and sheer-brilliant. 
Nova has a striking, affecting voice and her motivation for retribution made for great storytelling. When Adrian was introduced, who is a Renegade, he doesn't want revenge, but justice. The secondary characters are also winning in their own league, but for me, I really liked Nova the best. The characters personalities clash because of their overall motivations (just as apposing heroes/villains do) but the action is the best part toward the end of the book when the story really speeds and we can get a sense of where the next book will pick up and continue the epic tale. I was hoping that the action would pick up a tiny bit sooner, just because I like it to around the middle of the book, but I understand that a lot of world-building was needed to get a sense of what Renegades is all about. 
Overall, I loved Renegades. The suspense, diversity, strong female presence and unique theme (I haven't read a book like this ever) made for a sparkling and spectacular weekend read for me. If you're a superhero fan and you've loved Marissa's previous writing, I think you're hugely going to love what Renegades has to offer. 

Rating & Recs
For fans of YA Fantasy and the Cinder series.

Have you read Renegades?

What did you think?

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

happy reading!
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Happy NaNoWriMo 2017!


Yes! It's finally November and that means only ONE THING: it's time to start your laptops, gather your pens and get those characters at the ready! 

It's National Novel Writing Month!

NaNoWriMo means so much to me, not only because I love to write, but because it brings together the writing community so effortlessly and helps set your goals using the website to keep track of everything you're writing. 
I want to remind everyone that no matter how young or old you are, what kind of experience you have writing or whether you're using a fancy computer or just getting things written on paper: you can do this! If writing a novel is your dream, don't sweep it under the carpet: this is your year to shine and showcase your talent. In fact, in my last Write With Me post, there's a big chance you could get a Literary Agent if being published is your dream. 
But for all the wannabe-writers out there, wondering if you'll ever have the courage to write that story that you dream of writing, just know that the world is yours and we deserve to read your magic! 

happy reading (and writing!)
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Book Review: "There's Someone Inside Your House" by Stephanie Perkins (Halloween Week of Horrors: Day One)



Title: There's Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers
Find the Author: Goodreads 

Disclosure: I bought this book myself and this is NOT a sponsored post. As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down. 

First Thoughts
Everyone: the queen of YA is back! I seriously couldn't wait to have this book in my hands! After the Anna, Lola and Isla books ended, I was crushed and to this day, there still hasn't been a young adult book series that's made me feel the same way. So when I heard about There's Someone Inside Your House, I was dubious. But then the synopsis! Oh my goodness. It went on my TBR faster than I could breathe and when it got here, I had to painfully wait to read it until it was closer to Halloween time (you know, perfect Horror weather). In related news, WELCOME TO THE HALLOWEEN WEEK OF HORRORS DAY ONE!

Review
Young Adult Horrors have always been hit and miss for me. I either really love it or it's just not my kind of read (but the latter very rarely happens). Luckily for my own sanity and love of Stephanie Perkins' writing, this was one of the YA Horrors that I loved. 
Makani is completely different to those Stephanie's written before. She's got this secret that adds to her character in a complex, borderline mysterious way and I can already tell from the first few pages that it's going to be a darker novel than I'm used to from her, too. It doesn't take long for Makani to gel with new people after moving from Hawaii to a new small town and attending Osborne High, but she doesn't expect to be footsteps away from a killer with bloody motives. In between the heavy make-out sessions (she's the queen of romance in YA, what did you expect?!), people are dropping dead in gory and blood-ridden ways. With every new death, Makani doesn't know what to do but try to stay alive now that the hunt is on to find out who the killer is and what their motive continues to be. But the closer that people get to finding out the truth, the more deaths that follow. And with every horror-filled night, comes another spree of deaths that keep the mystery going. 
I was totally expecting to be scared by There's Someone Inside Your House, but I wasn't. It wasn't that kind of scary, but more thrilling and nail-biting. But don't get me wrong, this isn't for the fainthearted. There's still a lot of blood and gore, and the deaths are slasher-movie worthy. This is still one of the best YA horrors I've read in a long time. It's not my favourite book that Stephanie has written (I'm looking at you, Isla!), but it's deserving and a solid gold novel by one of my favourite authors. The writing was sharp and cut-throat mixed with snarky, it had a lot of diversity (just YES!) and Scream had better watch it's back! It's a total contender for being the next CW Horror show. Can you just imagine that kind of magic?! Sign me up!
Overall, There's Someone Inside Your House rings true and cuts a four-star shape in the YA Horror genre. Stephanie Perkins at one of her best, and I'm so excited for every new thing she does! She can never go wrong. 

If your interested in winning a copy of THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, look no further!

Rating & Recs
For fans of Stephanie's writing, YA Readers and Horror/Thriller fans!

Have you read There's Someone Inside Your House?

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

happy reading!
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Write With Me: NaNoWriMo & the Annual Young Adult Discovery Contest!


Are you excited?! Oh my goodness. I am BEYOND thrilled that it's almost NaNoWriMo time! 
If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, I'd be glad to introduce you to it! It's short for National Novel Writing Month and every year, participants sign up to write fifty thousand words of their novel. It's a true gem of a month! In thirty days, if you're totally committed, you can pledge to write fifty thousand words and make an account to connect with others (for free) and spread writing inspiration! You can earn badges and privileges by writing more and updating your word count and even share an excerpt of your story with others! 
Every year, I attempt the hefty word count and so far, I've gotten super close, but never actually hit it. This year, I'm shooting for the stars and REALLY trying to beat my old records. But thanks to the Serendipity Literary Agency, there's an even bigger incentive for everyone! They're holding their 8th YA Discovery Contest and it's got one amazing prize! They wanted me to tell my blog followers that starting November 1st, you can win a chance to get your writing read by editors at Simon and SchusterHarperCollins, Penguin Random House, MacmillanDisneyLittle Brown, JIMMY Pattersonand Abrams Books. How incredible is that?!
Winners from their contest have even gone on to have amazing Literary Agents and gone on to get published! There's also a few other prizes up for grabs for the first people to submit, and for runners up! If you want to read more about the announcement of the contest, everything you need to know is right here!



I'll be writing along with everyone for NaNoWriMo 2017, so if you want to be buddies, you can add me as a friend right here! I'll be doing a few updates here during November to hopefully get everyone as inspired as me with some hacks and helpful writing tips! Also, there's a few writing tips available on my Newsletter, so don't forget to sign up!

happy reading! (and writing)
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Halloween Week of Horrors: Line-Up & Giveaway Announcements!

Hello, book lovers and welcome to the announcement for my yearly, spooky spectacular, that is: HALLOWEEN WEEK OF HORRORS. 
Ah, October. A month when I finally feel me again. There's the crisp, multicoloured leaves and the way the comfort of a warm sweater feels. There's hot cocoa and Pumpkin-Spiced lattes, dark nights and candles flickering ahead with my head nestled in a book. It's the month when everything just melts perfectly into that festive time of year. And, well, the holiday when I thrive...
Halloween.
Beginning Tuesday 24th of October until the 31st, there will be the most exciting events you can imagine! I'm going to be giving away two prizes that are seriously awesome, reviewing three of my favourite Halloween-related reads and getting spooky with some DIY bookish posts!

  • 24th - Review of There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
  • 25th - DIY Halloween Nail Art
  • 26th - Review of Ten by Gretchen McNeil
  • 27th - Giveaway day
  • 28th - DIY Halloween Bookmarks
  • 29th - Giveaway day
  • 30th - Review of voted book (POLL)
  • 31st - HALLOWEEN MYSTERY DAY

There will be some book giveaways, along with the current giveaway of Stephanie Perkins newest novel that's going on over on my twitter page, but also tons of things YOU can get involved in! I really want to hear from my blog readers, so get in touch! I'm always open to new ideas. I'm excited to DIY some cool Halloween bookmarks and show you the surprise giveaway! It's small, yet mighty. 

Happy October! May everything in your life be sprinkled with Pumpkin-Scented things (unless you're allergic, then stay away from it).

happy reading!
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Christmas Present 4