Finding Audrey │ Review

Fuelled By Fiction Fueled Book Blog Finding Audrey Sophie Kinsella Young Adult
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Young Adult
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 9th by Doubleday Canada (An imprint of Penguin Random House)
 
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.
 
As a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, I was out of my mind excited that she was coming out with her first young adult novel. I knew I just had to have it. Had to. I received a copy from the publisher for review and just couldn’t wait to dive into it! 
 
Finding Audrey is the story of Audrey Turner. She is a fourteen year-old girl living with anxiety. This disorder was exacerbated by a traumatic social incident at school, and for the past few months Audrey as been at home trying to heal. She has been working with her therapist Dr. Sarah and taking small steps each day. 

Audrey has a loving, supportive, and hilarious family that is not without its flaws. Her brother always has his face pressed up against his computer screen, her mother has some sort of neurosis (mental illness is hereditary after all), and her father is just always trying to keep the peace. 
 
Enter Linus, her brother’s gamer friend. He is a sweet and patient boy that genuinely wants to get to know Audrey better, and he’s willing to do so on her own terms. 
 
This all makes for a fun, hilarious, heartfelt story and I really enjoyed it! 
 
This story often hit pretty close to home for me, because I have first hand experience with the anxiety disorders that Audrey experiences (although not quite to the same extent). I loved how Kinsella explored them with a lighter tone, while not making light of the illnesses themselves. I really appreciated that. Most books about mental illness are somber affairs, and while that certainly has its place, life with anxiety doesn’t have to be all dark all the time. It was refreshing to read a humorous YA novel on this topic!
 
I also really loved how parts of the story were told through a transcription of Audrey’s films! Filming friends and family was an exercise given to her by Dr. Sarah and it was fun, funny, and interesting reading from this perspective! 
 
I was glad to see that Audrey’s relationship with Linus didn’t “fix” everything for her. His friendship and support certainly helped, but Kinsella always made sure to show that life and anxiety will continue to have its ups and downs for Audrey—no matter what, there is no “cure.” There is dealing with what you’re dealt, day in and day out. That’s life! Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back—and that’s okay. 
 
I loved that this book was so therapy and medication positive. I can understand why Audrey may not have been thrilled all the time to have to take medication—it can pretty scary taking medication that effects your mind and not just some apparent physical ailment. But on the whole, this book was just so fun and so positive. 
 
Despite all the awesome that is this book, I have heard some mixed reviews from others. While I loved  the way Kinsella told Audrey’s story, not everyone is on the same page. As I said (and as should be expected from a Kinsella novel), this story is on the light and funny side! It’s meant to be a feel-good and funny affair on the whole. (Keep in mind this is from the author of Shopaholic, not some literary prize winner. It’s supposed to be fun.) Some people may have a problem with this considering the topic is mental illness. If you think humour and mental illness don’t go together, skip this one. But if you like to laugh while also reading something touching, I recommend this one! Though funny and on the lighter side, it’s not without it’s insights!
 
While I must say that I prefer Sophie Kinsella’s adult fiction, I did really enjoy her foray into the world of Young Adult and will pick up anything and everything she writes! I’m a huge fan, and Finding Audrey did not disappoint. 

Black Dove White Raven │ Review

Black Dove White Raven Elizabeth Wein Fuelled By Fiction Fueled by Fiction Young Adult Historical Fiction Book Blog

Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 31st, 2015 by Doubleday Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.

This is the first book by Elizabeth Wein that I have picked up. I’ve heard rave reviews of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, but for some reason never picked them up. However, I was lucky enough to receive a copy of her latest book from Random House Canada in the spring. 
 
Black Dove White Raven revolves around pseudo siblings Emilia and Teo in the 1930’s. Their adventure starts in Paris, then moves to America, then Ethiopia. 
Em and Teo were raised along side one another, their mothers—Rhoda and Delia—are best friends.  Rhoda and Delia were among the first female pilots, making a living pulling stunts in the air. They move around a lot because they face a lot of discrimination—not only for their gender, but because Delia and Teo are black. When the children are still young, a terrible accident leaves this foursome a threesome, as Delia dies in a crash. 
 
Rhoda then raises both Em and Teo together. To put an end to the discrimination they face, Rhoda decides to follow Delia’s dream—she is going to take the children to Ethiopia, the homeland of Teo’s late father. 
 
As Em and Teo come of age and learn to fly, the ground underneath them shifts as Italy threatens war. This has huge ramifications for their family not only in the obvious ways, but because Teo is technically a citizen and an able bodied one. They love Ethiopia and it’s people, but are also fiercely loyal to one another. Torn in so many ways, how will they survive? 
 
As these two grow and change, each thread of their story weaves together to form an incredibly interesting book. 
 
I have never read a book quite like it. It’s such an interesting concept set in a great time period. As Em and Teo become teenagers, Rhoda finally relents to teach them to fly. This has an interesting effect on the narration. The story changes perspectives between Em and Teo, and takes the form of the flight logs Rhoda made them keep. 
 
As time goes on, we get a look at a really interesting period in history. The World War II era is always interesting, but it’s especially neat reading about it from a different side. I have never read about Ethiopia before, and know very little about it. But this book gives a pretty neat snapshot into it’s history and culture. One of my favourite things I learned about is the history of the Ethiopian Church and the Ark of the Covenant. Whether or not it’s true, the church there believes they have it, and keep it secluded, attended to only by one priest whose sole purpose is to guard it. No one else is allowed to lay eyes on it. Therefore, there is no evidence that it is the actual Ark, but their belief that it is is foundational to their faith. 
 
I really enjoyed getting to know Em and Teo, and see how they faced the difficulties that laid ahead of them—and there were many. All the relationships in this book are so complex and well developed. 
 
So, basically, this book is great. It’s a wonderful historical young adult novel with unique characters and setting. If you like historical fiction, definitely pick this one up. If you like action, political intrigue, and great character arcs, again, definitely pick this one up. 
 
Highly recommend! I will definitely be doing a backlist binge!

Top Ten Tuesday │ Hyped Books I Haven’t Read…

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish!

It’s been a while since I participated in Top Ten Tuesday, so I’m going to cheat a little. I’m going to take my pick of the topics that have been covered over the last few weeks. So, this week I am going to be talking about the Top Ten Hyped Books that I haven’t read!

So, let’s get down to business. 

Here are ten books that have tons of hype, but I haven’t picked up:

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This baby was all the rage last year, especially when it won the Pulitzer! I even bought it hardcover when it was released, but somehow still haven’t read it. I’m hoping to get to it this summer… I have heard nothing but good things about this one.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Again, this one was all the rage last year, making tons of bests lists. It sounds really good and I have a beautiful UK edition hardcover. Again yet somehow I still haven’t picked it up. I know that it’s probably something that I’ll like, and I want to get to it sometime soon… But everything I go to pick it up I’m just not in the mood or something. 

The Martian by Andy Weir
This one is another that made it on tons of bests lists last year. It’s been getting even more buzz now that it’s being made into a movie starring Matt Damon. I’m really hoping to read the book before the movie, but with me, you never really know! 

The Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi
This one it seems like everyone on book tube and on YA blogs has read and loved. People talk about it so much and just rave. It’s been getting some more buzz now that it’s been optioned for TV and because Tahereh and Randsom Riggs had been making lots of interweby and con-y appearances.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This one has SO MUCH HYPE. Everyone keeps saying it’s the next Gone Girl. It has hundreds of holds at my library still. And I’ve seen it in many TBRs on book tube. I even own a copy of this book, and yet, again, for some reason haven’t picked it up yet. Even though I love a good psychological thriller. Someday soon maybe.

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
This is obviously another big one in the world of YA. Everyone seems to love Maas and her books, esp. this series. I read ACOTAR in June and I have to say that I wasn’t all that impressed? I’m not sure if I am going to bother with this series. 

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Another YA hit. I hear tons of good things about this series, and actually own the first two books. I just keep putting off reading it for no apparent reason? I don’t know. But I do know that the lines for Leigh Bardugo at BEA were the most nuts.

Any books by Colleen Hoover 
This is an author that I hear a lot about all over the internet. Everyone seems to love her, although there are many disagreements about which books are her best. I’m slightly curious to give her a shot, but I’m not sold yet. I’m pretty sure she writes New Adult, and that’s not a genre that I have any experience with. However, I do know that often sex plays an important role and that’s not something I’m overly fond of reading about. Do you think I should give any of her books a try…? 

Any books by Brandon Sanderson—esp. Mistborn series
Brandon Sanderson is apparently one today’s fantasy royalty. I have yet to read anything by him. His most popular series on the internet is Mistborn by far. Book tubers rave about this series pretty much constantly. I have the first book and keep meaning to read it, but it always feels kind of intimidating. You know, committing to a series? Esp. one in which the books are pretty lengthy. SOMEDAY. SOMEDAY I’LL READ IT.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin 
This series is hugely popular. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. Not only the books, but the HBO TV series. But… I don’t think I am going to read the books or watch the show. Don’t get me wrong—I love fantasy and I think the plot sounds really interesting. However, like I’ve mentioned, I’m not into graphic scenes—involving either sex or violence. I’m pretty sure that takes this one out of the running for me! 
Which hyped up books have you NOT read? Does your list have any similarities with mine? Do you think I should move any of these books to the top of my TBR?


It’s Monday, July 20th! Whatcha Reading?

Hey guys,
It has been a while since I’ve posted on here, so I’m going to turn this into a full on update! I have been spending the summer enjoying the sunshine, reading whatever my mood dictates, and gorging myself on Gossip Girl. I have been curbing my book buying for the most part, but have been doing a bit of secondhand book browsing! Want to know the best part? I have been able to resist buying anything and everything! I have been able to be like, This may be only $2.99, but am I actually going to read it?!

Last weekend I was able to go down to my cottage for the first time this summer and it was amazing. I was only there over one night but I enjoyed every minute of it. I spent a beautiful day reading on the deck overlooking the trees and lake.

Over the past two weeks I finished reading Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (5/5), and finished listening to the audiobook of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (5/5). I then moved on to read Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (3.5/5), Those Girls by Chevy Stevens (3.5/5), and Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella (4/5)!

I have moved on to the audiobook of Ernest’s Cline’s latest, Armada! I got the ARC at BEA this year, but I loved the audiobook of Ready Player One so much and Wil Wheaton narrates this one too! Yay!

I found my next read among my secondhand bookstore exploits! I was in the mood for a little scare so I picked up Red Dragon by Thomas Harris! It’s the first book in the series about Hannibal Lector! It’s the book the TV series Hannibal is based on. When I finish those, I don’t know what will be on the horizon next. I do know, however, that I think I OD’d on YA so my next few reads will be from a different genre.

Some of the things that may or may not be on my TBR All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, and The Enchanted by Rene Renfold.

It’s Monday, what are YOU reading?

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) │ Review

Fuelled By Fiction Fueled Book Blog Shadow Scale Rachel Hartman Young Adult Fantasy Dragon

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

Fantasy, Young Adult
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published March 10th, 2015 by Penguin Random House

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.

This is the second book in the Serphina duology by Rachel Hartman, and it picks up right where the first book left off. So, warning! This will contain spoilers for the first book!
 
At the end of Seraphina, war broke out in Goredd. This war is between the humans and the dragons, and amongst dragons of differing ideologies. Seraphina Dombegh is among the rare half dragons, the ityasaari, who have a strange bond with one another that may help win the war. Seraphina can see these ityasaari in her mind’s garden, but she must find them in the real world and enlist their help. 
Set sets off to faraway lands with her friend Abdo, in search of those like themselves. This journey leads them to strange places and stranger people, stringing together a group of misfits. However, there is one of the half dragons who is unlike the others. She is not well meaning. She has a strange gift that allows her to creep into the minds of others and influence them, even take over their bodies. Seraphina has been able to shut herself off to this ityasaari… but in shutting herself off from them is she also shutting herself off from realizing all her gifts? She has to decide between taking a risk, or playing it safe. 
 
I received a copy of this book from Random House Canada for review. Since I listened to the first book in audiobook form, I paired the written book and audiobook together this time. It was great! Same narrator. Loved it!
 
I really enjoyed getting back into this world and learning more about the characters. But while I did really enjoy it, I had a few qualms. Okay, well, SEVERAL. 
 
This book is huge. And it felt it. At the beginning, Seraphina is getting ready to set off on her journey, and she and Kiggs are keeping things on the DL. Like, seriously on the DL. They are practically never together, which is disappointing. The beginning was really quite boring and this was actually my second go round. I tried to read it back in March when it came out but just couldn’t get into it. 
 
There is also a good chunk of the book just devoted to Seraphina’s travels, probably half of the book or more. The actual conflict doesn’t start until more than halfway! This was really fun at first, but I their journey kind of dragged for me after a while. It got SO REPETITIVE. Search, find, success, STUFF, Search, find, success and/or STUFF, BADDIE. All the while, the Seraphina we know and love is kind of… Just there. While we do get peeks into her mind, they are much less interesting than the first book. While she does begin to question their quest, her motivation, and the reasons why she can’t see mind fire, there just isn’t the same inner turmoil. She doesn’t appear as strong or something. And there is way less emphasis placed on her Mind Garden, which is just kind of odd? And her music is just basically not in this book??
 
I was also a little disappointed because they were away for so long and Kiggs and Glisselda weren’t in it during that time! We only heard about them when Seraphina would talk to them on the thnik. Also, Orma is hardly in it at all… 🙁 The good thing about this journey part though was that were learned more about mind fire, as well as about the countries surrounding Goredd. It was really interesting to see the different cultures and approaches to dragon-kind.
 
I also found that the baddie was depicted as too infallible, and the ultimate solution was too weird and easy and quick. The same goes for the dragon war. Pretty anti-climactic if you ask me. It all resolved way to quickly, especially for such a big book. 
 
I found the resolution to the romance kind of weird, but interesting. I am sad, however, that there wasn’t more time spent on this after the solution is revealed. Because… I WANT TO KNOW MORE. IT’S SO UNIQUE, ESPECIALLY IN YA. 
 
So… In conclusion, there are some solid additions to the world building, but the pacing was off, the characters weren’t quite as good, the plot was repetitive, and the ending came about too quickly. HOWEVER, I did still enjoy this book. Rachel Hartman is an amazing writer and world-builder. On the whole the book was so-so, but the writing was beautiful. If you liked Seraphina, definitely read this. Just don’t expect it to be as good.

It’s Monday July 6th! Whatcha Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a weekly meme that I think used to be hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey. I’m not sure if she’s still hosting it and if she created it or? Anyway, I love reading others’ posts on Mondays so I thought I would give it a hook and see if it was something I’d like to do regularly! So… Without further ado…

I had an amazing reading week last week and hope to keep the trend going! Last week I finished listening to the audiobook of Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari (5/5) and I finished up A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (3/5). Then I read The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman(4.5/5), Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (4/5), and Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (4/5)! 
I had begun reading All the Rage by Courtney Summers after hearing pretty great things about it. I’m glad I borrowed it from the library rather than purchasing it. After reading about 30 pages, although intrigued, I had to DNF it. It had a lot of swears in it, and I’m just personally not into that. Instead I decided to pick up Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry! I’m thinking this was a pretty good choice. It’s got some great reviews and I’m loving it so far! It’s a nice change from the last few books I read because they were kind of dark and, well, kidnap-y. Still, the language is not exactly PG (unfortunately for me), but it seems better than All the Rage so far in that regard. Hopefully it stays that way…
Also since I finished listening to my current audiobook, I picked out another! I’m now listening to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’m really excited about this one! I have been meaning to read this book forever, and when I learned that Will Wheaton narrates it, I was like, GAME ON! 

After I finish these, I have no idea what I will pick up next–and I like that! For the past few months I have had several review copies for book tours etc.,  and I had been feeling the pressure. As a mood reader, I’m really enjoying being able to pick up whatever I feel like in the moment. 
But, here are some books that are on my list and I want to get to soon:
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, & Armada by Ernest Cline.
It’s Monday–What are YOU reading?


The Invasion of the Tearling│Tour Review & Giveaway [closed]!

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Fantasy, Dystopian
Hardcover, 515 pages
Published June 9th, 2015 by Harper
[Goodreads]
Purchase: [Amazon] [Book Depository]
Note: An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher for my participation in this TLC book tour and my honest review. All opinions expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.

It was really weird—WEIRD—because when I went to read this book, I for the life of me could not remember how the first book ended. I scoured the internet but still basically came up empty. So I just dove into the next book, hoping pieces of the first would come back to me. It basically did, but not really. WEIRD. That never happens! And I loved that book!
 
Anyway. Enough of that.


The Invasion of the Tearling. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015. I lost my mind when I saw it as a book tour opportunity. So I obviously jumped at the chance.
 
If you haven’t read The Queen of the Tearling, I’ll tell you what it’s about. Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is the heir to the throne of the Tearling. When she was a baby, she was secreted away to a cabin in the forest to be raised by foster parents. Her mother, the Queen, is dead, and the identity of her father unknown.
 
On her 19th birthday, she is to ascend to the throne. Soldiers will come to her hiding place and take her to the Keep—the palace of the Tearling. The journey is dangerous, and she will soon finds out it’s not less dangerous when she arrives. The Tearling is now ruled by a corrupt Regent, her uncle, and a corrupt religious order. They all seem to want her dead.
 
Kelsea must try to survive long enough to get her crown and save her people from corruption and devastation. However, the key to doing this may yet bring doom down upon them all—the wrath of the the Red Queen of Mortmesne. 
 
If you haven’t read The Queen of the Tearling yet, DO IT! What are you waiting for?! Also if you haven’t read it yet, you may want to skip down to my rating of The Invasion of the Tearling, because my review here may contain spoilers for the first book. 

At the beginning of The Invasion of the Tearling, Kelsea is coming into her own as queen. She has stopped the reprehensible shipments of her people to Mortmesne, but in doing so she crossed the Red Queen, a woman of strange and dark power with a taste for vengeance. The Mort are set to invade the Tearling, and their army is much bigger and stronger than that of the Tearling. It seems nothing can stop the Mort. Invasion is inevitable.Kelsea and her troops aim to put off the invasion as long as possible and prepare for siege. Kelsea and her mysterious powers are her people’s only hope. Tension runs high as the Mort army draws ever closer. Meanwhile, Kelsea has developed a strange connection with a woman named Lily from the past. Kelsea experiences visions of pre-Crossing America, and watches as Lily’s fate unfolds. Does the key to saving the Tearling lie in Lily’s story? Will Kelsea unravel it before it’s too late?DUH DUH DUH

One of the things I loved about the first book was Johansen’s careful and quiet weaving together of the world, characters, and plot. I found the pacing to be on point for a story of political intrigue and corruption. I became so fully immersed in the world I could not put the book down. I also love Kelsea! These things remained true of the second book. For the most part.

In this sequel, there is a lot of waiting going on. There’s not a lot of big things happening, because we are waiting for the big thing to happeni.e. the invasion. However, there are a whole host of smaller things going on that have large impact. There’s the stuff that goes on in the church (holy corrupt-pants! holy gruesomely-cruel-pants!), there’s Kelsea’s mystery fugues, there’s Lily, there’s all sorts of thingsso we definitely don’t get bored.

In this book, Kelsea’s story in the present is told alongside Lily’s story from the past (all of which is well ahead in our world’s future). When Kelsea slips into her fugues, she sees Lily’s life unfold in the past. While I did find Lily’s story super interesting, and while I did find the story in the present interesting, I found the way they were told alongside one another jarring. I would get thrust into one time, becoming fully immersed and invested, only to be yanked out and put in the other. Each shift it took me a while to get my bearings. I really did really enjoy both story lines, but there was something about the way it was done that just didn’t sit right with me.

Another thing I found was that the characters always felt like they were at arm’s length—I never felt truly connected to them. Sadly I found this especially true for Kelsea in this book. I could tell that she was changing, but I didn’t feel like I knew her very well by the end. It was weird. Also, why did she have to magically become prettier? Why does she need to be pretty? And why is there so much time spent talking about her appearance? First it was hearing about how plain she was all the time, and then it became about how she was becoming less and less plain. Anyway. 

Also, why was The Fetch not in it more? Sad face. 

With those few gripes aside, I really enjoyed this book. I was always excited to jump back into it, eager to learn more. It was engaging and exciting, with an interesting look at the history of the Tearling—which I did not expect, but definitely welcomed! The world building is so cool and unique! It’s a strange medieval-seeming world, but it’s actually in our future! It’s not a whole new world! Well, not exactly. I’m really looking forward to finding out where Johansen is going to take it from here.

I definitely recommend this series if you enjoy fantasy! It’s great.
Side note: this isn’t a young adult series, although everyone seems to think it is.
Side side note: the age of the protagonist does not determine the age of the intended audience.
 
About the Author
Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.
 
Tour Stops
Tuesday, June 23rd: Books Without Any Pictures
Wednesday, June 24th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, June 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 30th: Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, June 30th: Reading Lark
Thursday, July 2nd: Book Loving Hippo
Monday, July 6th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, July 7th: The Reader’s Hollow
Wednesday, July 8th: fangirl confessions
Thursday, July 9th: booknerd
Monday, July 13th: Spiced Latte Reads
Tuesday, July 14th: A Reader of Fictions
Wednesday, July 15th: A Dream Within a Dream
Friday, July 17th: Into the Hall of Books
 
GIVEAWAY!
Want to win a copy of this awesome book? You’re in luck! 
This giveaway is brought to you by Harper and TLC Book Tours!
It is open to residents of Canada and the US.
Please be sure to read the Terms and conditions. It’s not very long and you want to
make sure that you are eligible and that your entries will not be disqualified!