Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published December 31st 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published December 1st 2015)
I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


"Parker Grant doesn't need perfect vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances.

When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there's only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened – both with Scott, and her dad – the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem.

Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not."

My Review

Parker Grant is a really strong character who leaps off the page. She is not always likeable, as she's sometimes selfish but I admire her for her tenacity and determination. There are also a lot of funny moments in this book as she always says what she thinks and she quite enjoys getting a reaction out of people from her blindness; even if she doesn't want to be treated any differently from anybody else.

I also found it interesting to read about what life is like for someone who is blind, it definitely made me think about how much harder some things would be.

The story follows Parker as she navigates high school and tries to live as normal a life as possible with her blindness. She has a few close friends but they go through some difficult patches through the novel and Parker learns a lot and grows up a lot. These were some very emotional scenes in the book that made me cry.

Parker also has a set of rules that she wants people around her to follow and Scott is one person who broke her rules who she has vowed never to forgive. I enjoyed finding out about their history as Parker begins to think more about how reasonable her rules are.

This is an excellent debut novel. 5 out of 5 from me.

About the Author

In addition to writing Young Adult novels, Eric Lindstrom has worked in the interactive entertainment industry for years as a creative director, game designer, writer, and usually combinations of all three. As Editor and Co-Writer for Tomb Raider: Legend he received a 2006 BAFTA nomination for Best Video Game Screenplay, and then as the Creative Director for Tomb Raider: Underworld he received a 2009 BAFTA nomination for Best Action Adventure Video Game and a 2009 WGA nomination for Best Writing in a Video Game.

He has also raised children, which led to becoming first a school volunteer, then a substitute teacher, then a part time kindergarten teacher, then getting a credential to teach elementary school, and most importantly the discovery that YA literature is awesome. It’s pretty much all he ever reads, and now writes, in his house near the beach on the west coast, with his wife and, yes, cats.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Waking Under Water by Christine H. Bailey

Kindle Edition, 243 pages
Published September 16th 2015 by Vinspire Publishing (first published September 10th 2015)
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


"Sixteen-year-old Mia Hughes is not really a bad girl. She’s just made one bad decision after another, like mixing in with the wrong crowd and disappearing for days at a time. Her latest move has forced her parents to do the unthinkable—send her away to boarding school.

Trying to make sense of her new world, far away from Pittsburgh, is only half the battle for Mia as she fights to survive the wicked ways of the rich, spoiled kids at Galt Academy. But Mia is a fighter, and when she befriends junior Lucas Dunlap, the cute coffee shop guy, and his friend, Natalie, things start to look up for her—until the betrayal.

After falling into a deep depression, Mia resorts to the one thing she does best: running away. There’s only one problem—Lucas has a hold on her. And just when Mia thinks life can’t get any more complicated, it does with some life-changing news. Can Mia keep her head above water long enough to survive the pressures of her new school? And will Lucas be there when she finally comes up for air, once and for all?"

My review

I found the story of this book to be quite interesting. Mia has a lot of issues going on, including dealing with an eating disorder and a diagnosis which is life-changing for her. However, I have to say I didn't warm to her character very much and I felt sorry for her family having to deal with her behaviour. There is a lot of teen angst in this book and bemoaning that no-one understands her. Although Mia's character does go through a lot and did grow on me towards the end. I think the supporting characters could have been developed further as some of them would appear for a chapter and then disappear for ages and then reappear at a time when something needed to happen to develop the story with no mention in between.

I think in this book the story could have improved by being more chronological rather than jumping back and forth between how Mia got sent to boarding school and her time at the boarding school.

This is a good read, but the story didn't grip me. I would give this 3 out of 5.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Sleepless in Manhatten by Sarah Morgan

Published by MIRA in paperback and eBook
10th March 2016 - £7.99
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


“What if the person who broke your heart, is the only one who can help you find your future?

Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on the perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige and her two best friends, Frankie and Eva, are let go from Star Events.

Paige has two choices: she can either find a new job and a new dragon-like boss or she can take the biggest risk of her life and start her own business.  

Her brother’s best friend Jake – a successful businessman and notorious playboy – might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after and the mortifying moment when he rejected her naive advances still haunts her. Paige is determined not to repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that is missing from her perfect New York life: the perfect New York love story…”
My Review

I loved reading this book, it's the kind of book to be devoured in one sitting. The characters were believable and I loved the friendship between Paige, Frankie and Eva. I particularly liked that they worked together too and complemented each other in how different they are. I'm looking forward to reading Frankie and Eva's stories in the rest of the 'From Manhatten with Love' trilogy.

The relationship between Paige and Jake was great too, really romantic with lots of tension between them when they challenged each other. I enjoyed the history the two of them had together.

This is one of my favourite books by Sarah Morgan yet. 5 out of 5 from me.

About Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan writes warm contemporary romantic fiction which has gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award twice; in 2012 and 2013. Sarah lives near London with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. Visit Sarah online at and on Twitter @SarahMorgan_