All Our Yesterdays by Christin Terrill

Author: Christin Terrill
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Publishing Date: September 3rd 2013
Blurb Description: Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

My Rating: 

My Review:

Time, the final frontier: The one thing man has very little of; But soon, all of that is going to change…

Yesterday: Marina was a girl with a little too much and a little too less, and falling head over heels for James Shaw, the charismatic son of a powerful family.

Today: Years later, Em sits in a cell, obsessed with a drain on the hard, grey floor. Her only ally- a voice that creeps in from the cell next door, who is also being tortured everyday to reveal that tiny bit of information that keeps her alive, by someone Marina used to know.

Tomorrow (or Yesterday, in time talk): Em has a mission: to kill the boy Marina is falling for, to save herself, the voice next door and the rest of the world, including Marina herself.

In a dystopian world, the future, to be more specific, life as we know it, or our freedom is gone. Bombs are being burst to make the nation realize its weaknesses, by government run agencies itself. People cannot travel between cities, cannot even cross a street without being assaulted. What caused it? Something that should have never been trifled with it the first place- time- because, you see, time is not straight, nor something that keeps on running. It has laws, and if you break those laws (time travel), it will erase you; the time where you were will continue to go on, as if you were never there and everything will happen all over again, unless you intervene and change it (in the time you have, before you get erased, in the past).  

All our Yesterdays’ is the debut novel by Christin Terrill, with characters and a story line so unique, it will blow you mind! It’s extremely hard to explain such a wonderful book, partially because of the time travel and how time changes who we once were, for better or for worse, until death do us part.

I'm not really going to be talking about the twists and turns in the book (but, rest assured, there are many!) because then the entire point of the book will disappear. It's a bit weird, or Cryptic in the beginning, but I suppose that's the point, to keep you guessing!

All our yesterdays’ is about loss and family, and what we would do to get the people we love back. It’s about (the strongest of) friendships and how they can be destroyed; trust- how it can be shattered and earned and love, because we find it where we never think we will! It’s about learning to love yourself, before expecting someone else to love you.

Most of all, All our Yesterdays deals with change- how much you can change; cross that thin line between good and evil but think you’re doing it for the right reasons, and then, going back in time to remember the person that you used to know.

A timeless tale on change, loss, love, family, trust and time travel!- READ it!

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria

Author: Ava Dellaria
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Publishing Date: April 1st 2014
Blurb Description: It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path

My Rating:

My Review:

A huge Thanks to the Publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review:

Everything is still just the way she left it- from the dried flower she had on herself when she floated away to Prom to the Nirvana poster by her bed, a reminder of all the music that took her to another place, to all the shiny daring clothes in her closet- as if she never left at all. As if she never fell while she was trying to fly. As if, that all that is left of her are not only the memories she shined in, like the star she has become. 

Laurel had, quite literally, the perfect life- filled with the biggest dreams, the most unimaginable and yet wonderful fairy tales that would make you want to believe in the magic all around us, and the best older sister anyone could ask for- well, it was… Until her parents got divorced and her sister died and her mom just left, unable to cope and suddenly, all Laurel is left with are the memories of laughter and love and fairies in a now silent house, haunted by what it used to be; the happiness it used to hold. 

It began as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain, because May (her sister) loved him, and because he isn’t a part of the world we know, just like May. And soon, Laurel finds herself scribbling down her whole life in the midst of a few pages- all to people who left their mark, but disappeared just like her sister- Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger and more- hoping that even though there is no way these can reach them, they’ll, somehow, be able to understand.

As she writes her way through the pain and abandonment and the hurt, Laurel starts to accept that her sister’s life wasn’t as glamorous as she thought, and starts to learn who she really is as person- not just a shadow of her sister. For only when she comes to terms as to what really happened that night, and with the abuse she suffered while just trying to get to be a part of her sisters’ world, can she truly find out how to move forward from the dark place she has been living in! 

This book is amazing, that so realistically deals with being a teenager in today’s world, death, love, being different but just being you. There are so many well defined themes going on, that circle around while Laurel struggles to learn what it is to be alive while the other half of you vanished; how to trust and how to smile and how to love again.

It kept me hooked, till the very end, until Laurel narrates what really happened on the day when her world flipped on its axis and although it was heartbreaking and just plain sad, I couldn’t help but feel that she was too dependent on her sister- that her view of their relationship was a bit too dysfunctional- and that her sister should have cared more; been more.

All in all, a riveting read that I would definitely recommend!

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard- Review

Author: Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House Childrens)
Date Published: January 7th 2014
Blurb Description: When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.
My Rating: 4.5 stars!

My Review: 
*Trying to write smaller reviews:)*
And We Stay is the story of Emily Beam, the new girl at Amherst Academy for Girls, who is quite different from everyone else there- she neither wears the 'right' clothes nor the shoes, goes for walks with only her thoughts to accompany her, scribbles down poems in the dead of the night and gets locked in water closets...

That's not all, however, for Emily Beam is a girl with a Past, a Past that cannot be altered or even made up for: she cries out in her sleep and puts her pain into the soulful poems she writes. Poems that comprise, in all their finesse, the secrets she has to make peace with; the secrets she does not talk about.

"The sky that held her dreams has now stolen her story... And the stars know just how to tell them- Night after Night, over and over"*

Back in her home town, Grenfell County, Emily led a pretty ok life- spending her days cheerleading and getting straight A's and hanging out with her boyfriend, Paul. It’s an idyllic, picturesque life in many ways. That is, until the unthinkable happens: Paul shoots himself in the school library, in front of Emily, leaving her all alone with the new life growing inside of her...

Through the course of the book, Hubbard takes us seamlessly from the past to the present, with Emily’s memories and present day happenings. She shows us what her life used to be, how and why Paul did what he did and how she reached where she is now.
And We Stay is Emily Beam's story- of her past and the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could've beens’ that she ponders over and the pain she has to deal with; her present where she focuses on putting one step (or word) in front of the other to deal with what happened in the past and her future, that she must somehow look forward too after killing something she helped create!

I really loved the book, as it dealt with some of life's big issues like suicide and teenage pregnancy and the consequences of your choices and we'll as the (comparatively) little ones like friendship. Jenny Hubbard is a one of a kind author, and I would encourage anyone and everyone who likes poetry (especially Emily Dickinson) and a heart- warming as well as heart-breaking tale that will stay with you for sometime to come!

*Quotes are subject to change from my ARC

Bombmaker by Claire McFall

Author: Claire McFall

Publisher: Templar Publishing

Publishing Date: 1st Feb 2014

My Rating: 4.5 stars!

Back Description: The English government have closed the borders with their Celtic neighbours. Any Celt found in England is branded with a tattoo, found twice they are executed. Scottish Lizzie is the 'property' of psychopathic London gang boss Alexander. Can Lizzie escape Alexander's deadly grip and at what price her betrayal?

My Review:

"Alexander picked me up, dragged me down the lane, and stuck me in the passenger seat of his car. Then he drove off, taking me out of danger... Into hell. From that minute on, he owned me..."

In the future, innocence is lost: from the children that should be protected at all costs to the teenagers and even the lives of the adults. It is a place where survival is the only thing people have time for. The future is a place where the small comforts of today have become the luxuries of tomorrow.

The world has plunged into a prolonging economic crisis- America and China simply can't seem to find peace and are constantly at each other's throats, the UK pulled out of the European Union after having decided to go at it alone, which lasted for about a year until they declared bankruptcy and closed the borders to their Celtic neighbours.

Without a passport, which is almost impossible to acquire, any Celt found within the border is branded with a tattoo the first time, and shot on sight the second, no questions asked, no trial, no justice. And this is where all things political end- and the breathtaking and unpredictable tale begins- somewhere on page three!

Abandoned by her parents and left in a country with no order whatsoever- in a tiny apartment with no water, no food and nothing to help her live- Lizzie sneaks her way into London only to get herself caught and branded. On her last warning and her last chance at life, Lizzie finds it harder and harder to walk down a street. She can't afford to make a mistake or slip up in even the slightest of ways- then her life is over.

That is, until she meets Alexander. Ruthless, calculating and uncontrollable, the biggest, youngest and scariest drug boss in a huge network that comprises of the London Underworld, she finds herself swept into his world to become his personal plaything, his property.

"Thank you for saving me," she said to him.

"Is that what I did?" he asked, with a dangerous smile on his lips.

As Lizzie free falls into his world- her prison with invisible bars- Alexander quickly discovers her little talent: she can make bombs. Thrown into the world as his pet Bombmaker, little Lizzie finds herself in more dangerous, challenging and life-threatening situations every time. Until, that is, he decides he is done with her…

I feel that words, no matter how powerful, cannot comprise what I felt while reading Bombmaker; the chills it sent up my spine, the compulsion I felt to read each page faster and once I was done, simply open it again, the times it made me smile and the horror I felt.

McFall's ability to imagine and create is unmatchable. I loved every single character: Lizzie, Alexander's brother, Sam and even the evilly enigmatic Alexander himself! What makes a story unforgettable are the characters and these are some I can't seem to get out of my head, even though I don't really think I want to!

With twists and erratic characters that will leave you begging for more, Bombmaker is the first of 2014s must read books!!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Lesyle Walton

Author: Lesyle Walton 
Publisher: Walker Books 
Publishing Date: March 27th 2014 
My Rating: 3 stars 
Blurb Description: Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga. Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and na├»ve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

 My review: 
Some considered her an angel; Blessed, otherworldly! Some thought she was cursed. The journalists, from the minute they got wind of it, a little after she came to be, camped outside her mothers' delivery room, determined, each one of them vying to be the first to explain the phenomenon; a phenomenon that nobody had seen, let alone attempted to understand before. People who had devoted their lives to the sciences, for once, found themselves questioning their beliefs...

And yet, good or bad, angelic or a gift from the devil, boon or bane there was only one conclusion. The Girl Born With Wings simply could not and would not survive without them. They were as essential to her as, let's say, her heart!

To understand how The Girl Born with Wings came to be where she is, how her story landed on the threshold of the Yellow House, we must go back, Way Back, to one of the tiniest most gossipy cities in France where Emilienne Beaugard lived with her three siblings and her silent petite mother and her phrenologist father (if you must know, phrenology is the study of the shape of ones head and it's relation to your life and the success and love it can bring you!) who decided that his family was destined for greater things and just as soon, waved Bon Voyage to his tiny town from the deck of a huge ship, daring to sale simply a week after the Titanic sunk, on his way to his Utopia; America. New York...

It is in the city that never sleeps, the big apple, Emilienne finds herself thrown into a world so much, well, stranger that the one she was used to. It is here, in the city that can make and break you that Emilienne and her siblings learn the lessons of love, life, death and family and choose to act in ways that shatters everybody involved. From here, Emilienne finds herself in an arranged marriage to Connor Lavender, a one legged man. She gives birth to her daughter, Vivanne Lavender, Ava mother.

From France to New York to a little town on the West Coast, from simply waiting for love and engaging in all of its ups and downs to trying to see through the blinding cloud of pain and misery that Love can leave behind, from a picturesque little family to one irrevocably broken, never to be fixed again, with perhaps the exception of something unexplainable; something angelic, something extraordinary, something magical!

Ava lavender's story is one that shows you the fragile threads we all exist upon and what we do to stay upright. It shows how precariously we are attached to one another and how a small insignificant act can impact your life in ways you would never even dare to imagine. It shows us the sorrows are wants can bring us, particularly and most of all love. Lyrical and astounding, if you let it be, it will change you and show you what pain lies out there!

I loved this book! As intrigued as I was by the blurb for three quarters of the book I kept waiting to read about the girl born with wings, and instead I got the story of her Mother and grandmother, intriguing, and perhaps Even necessary, but not the point. I just wished it the book would have focused more on the Strange and beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender! A sweet and harsh, bittersweet and lyrical to be exact read, nonetheless!

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