Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











How to FallFrom Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family’s from. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.

Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya’s death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.

Beloved author Jane Casey breaks new ground with How to Fall, a thrilling and insightfully written mystery.

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This novel is actually about two separate things: How Freya died, and the truth about Dan Henderson. However, only one aspect is actually answered in the novel, which left me a bit frustrated since the mystery surrounding the police officer is definitely a key point in novel, even though it does not really relate to what happened to Freya.

Jess Tennant has an uncanny resemblance to her deceased cousin, Freya, a person she never met due to her mother’s estrangement from her twin sister. Because of her looks, and Freya’s apparent accident, she’s the talk of the town, it seems, which spurs Jess on to find out the truth about Freya’s death. I agree with Jess, I’d be determined to find out the truth, too, and I love Jess’ spunk. She has some crazy ideas and awesome comebacks throughout the novel, and I really enjoyed that about her. I loved the end too—the way Jess finally learns the truth–while a bit far-fetched (or, not something I would ever consider) it works well with the storyline and I was glad that this aspect of the novel had a conclusion.

But I am left unsatisfied. What do I need to know? More about Dan and Jess’ mother’s relationship. Is Dan a real creeper, like he seems? Why is he so rude and aggressive towards everyone? What is he hiding? Was he coming on to Jess, or was she just overreacting? What is the relationship between Dan and his son really about? What’s going on there? Why do people seem to fear Dan? While we’re given a small paragraphish glimpse into the story behind Dan and Jess’ mother, it’s not enough to answer any of my questions, and I really felt like the novel set itself up to tell this story, but then didn’t. Which left me confused. I have one thought about Jess and Will’s relationship and why Dan might not want it, but I can’t go into specifics because, A. I’m probably wrong and, B. it’d be a bit spoilery to state it.

Dan aside, I did love the language of this novel. It is so very British in its colloquialisms, and I enjoyed them very much, having spent some time abroad when I was in college. There are some terms that some may need to look up, but overall they translate easily enough for readers outside Britain, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title releases today.

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17392996From Goodreads: Adopted as babies by two different families, Simone and Hannah have never known they are identical twins. Simone has been raised as a dancer, but she hates performing. Hannah loves nothing more than dance, but her parents see it as just a hobby. When the two girls meet for the first time at the age of fifteen, they decide to swap places to change the role dance plays in their lives. Yet fooling their friends and family is more challenging than either girl expected, and they’re both burdened by the weight of their lies.

How long can Hannah and Simone keep pretending? What will happen when the truth is revealed?

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This is a great MG read for anyone who absolutely adores The Parent Trap and/or ballet.  When I was a tween, The Parent Trap was one of my favorite movies and it made me wish I, too, had a twin sister.  I wanted that same bond and to be able to do awesome switch tactics like the girls did in the movie.  Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been less enamored with the movie, but it’s still my childhood favorite, so when I saw the synopsis of Pirouette, I couldn’t wait to read it in hopes of evoking my inner child, even though ballet was never my thing.

I think that younger readers will feel the same way about this novel as I did about The Parent Trap when I was their age.  It’s a cute story that brings about all kinds of childhood fantasies about being a twin, and I truly believe MG and YA aged readers will enjoy this novel.  As an adult reader, however, I found it somewhat juvenile. But I’m also an adult with an adult mindset, and from the get go, I couldn’t shake the feeling that what Simone and Hannah were doing was a very bad thing, switching families, schools, friends… but I know that if I had read this as a young teen, I wouldn’t have been so judgmental, and that’s why I really recommend it for the MG and YA age group.

Like I said before, it’s a cute story, and it has some amazing themes and morals that remind readers that Simone’s and Hannah’s antics aren’t the best, though they are somewhat funny and we all secretly wish we could pretend alongside them.  While the ballet portion of the novel was a bit over my head because I never took ballet as a child, I think it was the perfect backdrop for this story, and I highly recommend it to those who are more familiar with ballet.  Three stars.

3 stars

Fluz has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release on November 1, 2013.



17977051 From Goodreads: For months, Jesse has been envious of her twin sister Bryn and even has a crush on Bryn’s gorgeous, popular boyfriend, Quinton. When Jesse awakens from a coma to learn that everyone thinks she IS Bryn, the option of actually taking over her sister’s life is beyond tempting, but there’s a downside. She’d have to give up Ethan, her best friend and the only person she trusts. Could she actually live as Bryn for the rest of her life? And if her family and friends found out, would they ever forgive her?

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a twin? I have. Whenever I see twins, I’m always wishing that I had one, too. Sisterly love, someone just like me to confide it. Someone with which to share my secrets, dreams, and ambitions… the glamorization of twins has always made me jealous of those with that special bond. But glamorization is just that. The grass always seems greener on the other side, and truth be told, I can do all the above with a good friend or sibling, if I wanted to. What I can’t do, however, is switch places with them. But Jesse and Bryn can…

Carling’s novel, Becoming Bryn, follows the lives of Jesse and Bryn, identical twins, as they battle the drama that is high school. Told from differing viewpoints, readers get an in-depth look into the hearts and minds of both girls, which was an ingenious idea as it allowed me to connect with both on a deeper level than had the story been completely from Jesse’s point-of-view, which is what I expected. Through this process, we learn about Jesse’s jealousy and Bryn’s heartache, casting a differing light on the twins as they live their lives. However, it doesn’t end there. As you know from the synopsis, Bryn dies, and it is here that the inevitable twist occurs.

Thought to be the popular twin, Jesse is mistaken for Bryn, and when her feeble attempt to explain the truth to her mother falls flat and Bryn’s beautiful boyfriend Quinton comes to visit, the idea of becoming Bryn takes hold. But one can’t just become another overnight, twin or not. What I loved about this transition is that, even though Bryn is dead, we still get her point of view from the afterlife. She has yet to cross over, and we struggle with Jesse’s decision to take over Bryn’s life right alongside Bryn. We also learn that Bryn’s life wasn’t as perfect as Jesse thought it to be, and that Jesse’s life wasn’t as dull as she herself thought her own life to be, and it’s a wonderful portrayal of growing up, making life-altering choices, and having to deal with the lies and deceits we’ve spun. Though Jesse seemed a little like a whiner and many of her choices made me angry with her, I get it. And so does Bryn as she thinks over her interactions with her sister in the months leading up to her death. Being a twin doesn’t mean you know everything about one another, and maybe it’s better that way.

This is a story of love, healing, and redemption, and I really enjoyed it. I recommend a box of tissues as you read, because the ending will leave you a little bit raw. I listened to the last fifth of the novel on my Kindle as I drove down the highway on my way home from a conference because I couldn’t wait another moment to find out what happened, and let me tell you, I had to pull over and get myself together because the tears and overwhelming sense of joy and sadness made it impossible for me to function, so don’t follow my example there, don’t read and drive–the ending will leave you a happy mess. But do read it, because it’s great. Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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And now for the giveaway!

We have one SIGNED paperback copy to give away!

To enter this giveaway, you must:

-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Agree to HONESTLY REVIEW the novel via a blog (if you have one), or Goodreads, or any other media format you use for book reviews (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)

-Fill in the mandatory question on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click here to go to the Rafflecopter entry form!

This contest is open to U.S. and Canada Addresses ONLY and will end at 12:01am EST on August 14th at 12:01am. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on August 14th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!



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