Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Firstly, thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for this review copy <3


Date Read: June 18 - 21 2015
Date Released: April 7th 2015 (this edition)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: NetGalley via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line."


I can definitely say that Breathe, Annie, Breathe is my favourite Kenneally book so far. I’d read two of her earlier works and didn’t connect as much or understand the MCs and also thought they followed a similar formula. Breathe, Annie, Breath is quite different from these and I enjoyed it a lot.

Unlike Kenneally’s other female protagonists, Annie is not naturally gifted at sport. This made me connect with her immediately because I’ve become less sporty over the years. As a way to honour her dead boyfriend, Annie decides to train to run in a marathon and complete for him what he was never able to do. This made me like her even more because Jesus 42.2km is a VERY long distance to run and it takes so much preparation to run as the story shows. I admired Annie’s resilience because it wasn’t easy going from someone who hated running to following a strict regime and running miles every day in the months leading up. There were so many points in the book where she encountered difficulties not only emotionally, but physically too. Throughout all of this insane training, she was dealing with not only her grief, but a life without her best friend as Kyle was not just her boyfriend, but the person she’d been doing everything with for the past 3 years. I admired her strength of character and she was just so real for me.

As Annie faces a life without Kyle, her eyes are opened to the people around her – those that have always been around her and also new people she meets through her running training. I loved the support her family were always willing to give her and their unconditional love. The friends she made while on her training program provided her with a mature network of adults who also shared her struggles of running and had their own life problems. Her coach Matt was just plain awesome and I liked his fun but also take-no-shit attitude. I was also intrigued by her relationship with ex-best friend Kelsey and the way this was explored and developed over the book. Communication, people – very important.

And then there’s Jeremiah who is the complete adrenaline opposite to Annie’s calm. While Annie’s internal thoughts were panicky a lot of the times, I got the feeling she exuded this stability and calm despite everything around her and happening to her. Jeremiah was like the Energizer Bunny – constantly in action, never stopping, always looking for a new thrill to get his adrenal high. He’s such a good though. Caring, willing to give Annie space and I just like it when a guy knows what he wants and doesn’t play games. He was obviously into Annie and he wasn’t afraid to show his interest and let it be known he was pursuing her. At the same time he knew when to take it slow and that she wasn’t ready. Where’s my Jeremiah?

I breezed through Breathe, Annie, Breathe because it was such an enjoyable read with great characters, an engrossing and heartfelt story and a really fantastic, relatable protagonist.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Favourite Books of H1 2015

Happy New Financial Year! As we enter the second half of the year, I'd like to take some time to appreciate some of the amazing titles that have been released in H1 of 2015. These are my favourite books so far! And I can't wait for the books that will be released in H2.

All books listed here got a minimum 4 star rating.


This has been a year of glorious debuts and I honestly can't wait to read more from these authors. I honestly can't believe that these are debuts because these books are so well written, I was blown away.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
While not Niven's first book, it's her YA debut and she's grasped writing for the age group perfectly. This contemporary majorly hit me in the feels. Told in dual POV, we meet Violet and Finch on top of the their school's belltower as they both contemplate suicide. What ensues is an amazing journey of self-discovery. YOU WILL CRY. Prepare the tissues.

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
I was immediately drawn in by that glorious cover. It's a book that sounds like a lot of YA dystopians we've already read. It's definitely an amalgamation of these. Poor girl is taken into a palace, politics, royalty versus commoners. But with the X-Men vibe combined, it feels like a lot of the stuff we've read before but done better. I'm so excited for the sequel!

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey
This one reminded me a lot of Daughter of Smoke and Bone which it was definitely compared with. Grey of course has her own twist to it and I adored the snarky MC. Two races that have been at war for eons, a power that can end it, and the mystery/journey that follows. Also, a really swoony guy. *Makes grabby hands at book 2*.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Zomg THIS. BOOK. I ADORE IT SO MUCH. Basically our boy Simon gets blackmailed by someone who finds out he's gay. This is a real, sweet, cute and amazingly well written story of a guy just trying to make his way through high school and find his place as he falls in love. Oreos are required for reading. All the characters are genuine, non-cliched, and an extremely relatable depiction of high school.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
Oh my sweet baby Jesus. Feels you guys. FEELS. Based on A Thousand and One Nights, we follow Shazi as she marries the tyrant king Khalid to get vengeance on his killing her best friend. And all the other young brides he's had executed. But is he really a tyrant? What secrets does he hold? AHHH THE ANGST. THE EMOTIONS. That intense push and pull between Shazi and Khalid. I need book 2 NOW. I SAID NOW.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
My heart hurts. This was such a bittersweet, poignant story that just soared. Aza's always had trouble breathing and takes meds which, when she starts seeing ships in the sky, she believes are hallucinations. The writing in this book was like poetry that sang right to my heart. The way the characters thought, their outlook on life, the way they dealt with fear/stress/love. As a lover of Final Fantasy I've always been in awe of the concept of airships. I feel that Magonia spoke directly to my love of FF. Admiring that cover.

New Series

These are new releases by authors who have previously published YA books.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
It's a well-known fact that I'm a massive SJM fan. Her Beauty and the Beast retelling with a Nordic/Scandinavian and fey twist is amazing. Not enough words. Sexy, steamy, enthralling. Book 2 is A Court of Abs and Pecs. Honestly, Sarah's fictional men are superb.

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by VE Schwab
My goodness this lady has one of the most imaginative, fabulous brains. Her writing and her concepts are mind-blowing. Three parallel Londons: magic, dreary or dangerous? Kell is one of the only people who can travel across these worlds and trouble follows him everywhere. What an adventure.

Series Continuations

The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon
You haven't seen world-building until you've seen it done by Shannon. The sequel to the gorgeous and complex Bone Season takes us deeper into Scion-London to a grand and dangerous underground of Mime Lords and Mime Queens. Layers of each character are peeled back, more secrets are unearthed, and THEN THE SWOON.

End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days #3) by Susan Ee
The conclusion to this original trilogy about a post-apocalyptic world where angels are the bad guys. The girl power is strong. The steamy is intense. The macabre is real. And hell is just a fall away. One of the best endings for a trilogy I could have asked for.

Well there you have it. My favourite releases of 2015 so far. Bring it on H2!