Saturday, 29 June 2019

REVIEW - NO FENCES IN ALASKA BY GLEN SOBEY

Title: No Fence In Alaska
Author: Glen Sobey
Genre: New Adult, Teens & YA
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Release Date: 27th June 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Their worlds are about to come crashing down...

At sixteen years old, Harper Lyon's life is spinning out of control. She threatens her parents with suicide unless she can meet her drug-dealing boyfriend, a college student who doesn't know she's pregnant. Cooper Lyons, her estranged grandfather, lives in rural Alaska with only his dog and cat for company. He has just been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, and he doesn't plan on letting the disease run its course. Harper needs to escape her parents and decide what to do about the baby. She and her grandpa are worlds apart, but they may be exactly what the other needs. When Harper calls her grandfather, he welcomes the opportunity to help her and redeem his previous failure with his daughter Heather, who died from a drug overdose years ago.

Can they save each other?

PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I was searching my kindle for my next read and the cover of this one caught my eye. I then saw the byline of “No fences in Alaska sweetheart, “Never let them build one round you” which made me want to read the blurb which had me want to start reading the book. The genre’s listed for this book are New Adult, YA, & Teens, which this book is certainly suitable for but I would like to add I think the book should also be classed as General Fiction as I think many adults would thoroughly enjoy reading it.

The very basics of the story are that Harper Lyon is a young 16yr old who is not getting on with her parents. Harper’s mother Natalie and her parents are very religious and strict and Harpers father Greg, found religion later in life and is trying to be very strict with his children. Natalie’s parents put a lot of pressure and have exceedingly high expectations from Greg as headmaster of a school they are funding. The slightest infraction of rules is to be punished no matter who that individual is. Which is how Harper finds herself expelled from the school her parents both work at. Greg also carries what some would say is emotional baggage from his childhood. The baggage he carries is in reference to this emotional baggage is in connection to his younger sister Heather who had been into boys, drink and drugs. Heather had died despite the best efforts of Greg’s parents. Greg blamed his father for his sister’s death and also for having an affair and causing the total breakdown of the family. This is one reason that he comes down so hard on Harper, but it is also a reason she feels she cannot talk to her parents. As Greg presumes Harper is on the same track of behaviour his sister was and attempts to clamp down even more on Harper. This however just pushes Harper further away, and into the arms of an older boyfriend, Zachary who uses her insecurities and ends up having her meet him in secret, gives her drugs and when she wakes up next to one of Zachary’s friends in bed at the side of her she realises she is in fact being used. I won’t go into much more detail but Harper decides to go to her Grandfather, (her father dad who they haven’t seen or spoken to for years) to live with him. Harper uses blackmail to get her parents to purchase her a ticket. Sadly, the blackmail is in a way a last cry for help from Harper to her parents but her father is so worried about losing his job that he caves and buys her the flight ticket. Harper doesn’t know what life will be like with her paternal Grandfather but assumes at this stage it can’t get any worse. Harper is totally unaware that her Grandfather, Cooper has just been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and is still coming to terms with that. Cooper admits he may not have done everything right in bringing up his children or his marriage but he is sure and really wants to help this granddaughter that he hasn’t seen since she was a young child that stood on a table during a boat journey and sang at the top of her voices. Those on the boat applaud her singing, however her father Greg did not, pulling her from the table saying people have to eat from those etc and telling her off. In fact, he argued with his father about it and they had never visited each other since. Cooper hopes Harper still has a love of singing as it is something, they will have in common that they can build on. Which they do become increasingly close yet still keep their biggest secrets to themselves. Eventually there comes a point where the secrets reveal themselves. It is through the process of tackling one of the secrets that Harper meets a boy around her age who works as an EMT and plays his guitar and sings around different venues for money. It’s not long before Cooper has them set up singing in different venues for payment. Then things take a turn for the worse for both Harper and Cooper…..who can help?

I feel like I want to tell you so much more, but to go into more detail, reveals far too much of the plot, and you need to have the sequence of events to be revealed in the order and at the time the book does so.

My favourite character is Cooper, the man who has been living alone without his family for such a long time with only his cat Houdini and dog Snowball for company. He is desperate to help his granddaughter when she reaches out to him, despite him not knowing the whole story of her situation. As time goes on in the book, Cooper becomes eager to help Harper find new interests and “set her on the right track” whilst he is still well enough to do so. He is determined to help to set up Harper’s future before he succumbs to Alzheimer’s. Having said that Cooper is determined no one will have to look after him when he gets to a stage in his illness that he can no longer take care of himself.

I seriously loved this book, I was easily drawn into the book and went from thinking Harper was going to be a maybe “wayward”, alcoholic teen but the further you read into the book you realise that she is somewhat misunderstood. In that when an alcoholic drink was found in her bag at school and it is reported to the headmaster who is also her dad, she is immediately presumed guilty and expelled then blamed for “ruining” her father Greg’s reputation. Her father seems very quick to believe the worst of his daughter, he cannot seem to help himself but compare Harper to his sister Heather. As a reader you can understand why she feels she cannot approach her parents to talk about her situation and problems. When she couldn’t see that Zachary was just using her I wanted to take her by the shoulders and shake her and shout, you are worth so much more. Then her rushed decision to go to Alaska to her grandfather, to me showed her maturing and wanting to do better for herself. After reading some of her interactions with Cooper I wanted to hug her and shout at them both for keeping secrets lol. This book does take you through a wide range of emotions. I found it difficult to put this book down and was frantically wishing for a happy ever after ending for Cooper, Harper and her family, but that wouldn’t have been realistic and this book really represents Alzheimer’s and the other issues featured accurately and in an honest, way. I think this book covered a lot of different issues really very well. There’s the dementia, the drugs, drink, peer pressure, family issues and more all dealt with so well in this book. The descriptions of the area are so good you can envision them easily. The byline, is said by the character I adored and kind of gives you a lump in your throat and then you totally understand how powerful it is within the book too.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were, Wow! What an amazing read! I am not ashamed to admit this book had me sobbing for the last 2% of it. Alzheimers/Dementia is portrayed honestly, truthfully and without frills or lies. Absolutely loved the relationship between Cooper and Harper. Would love to hear from these characters again a few years on, I will certainly be adding Glen Sobey's other book, The War Blog to my Want To Read List and keeping an eye out for any more titles written by him.

As a final sum up what can I say? I highly recommend reading, No Fences in Alaska!
Just make sure you have some tissues handy!




Thursday, 27 June 2019

REVIEW - CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT BY BRIGID KEMMERER

Title: Call It What You Want
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: 27th June 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
After reading and loving Brigid Kemmerer’s Letters To The Lost Series I know straight away if she did another contemporary style book I had to read it! Once again I have seen two covers for this book (pictured at the end of this post). I do like both styles of cover though I discuss them further in my “Cover Comparison Post”. The genres listed for this book are YA, Contemporary, I love YA and have warmed to the contemporary genre especially when coupled with YA and by this particular author.

The main character is former “it” boy Rob Lachlan junior, who once had it all, money, popularity and an easy life. That was until his dad Robert Lachlan Senior got caught embezzling money. He was turned in by family friend and co-employee Bill Tunstall. Bill was cleared of all charges and so he and his family were untouched by the notoriety and disgrace that the Lachlan family endure. Robert Lachlan senior couldn’t cope with the fall out from being caught having fraudulently stolen money from many of the neighbours and he attempts to take his own life. Horrifically for Robert Lachlan junior he is the one that finds his dad.
Rob has no one to call a friend at school now, even his best friend Connor Tunstall ignores hm. Someone else used to being less popular is Maegan, her dad is a policeman. It’s a good job she doesn’t have close friends as if she did it would be harder to hide the fact her sister Samantha has come home from University and is pregnant. Naturally Maegan’s family want to keep the shock news private for as long as possible. Maegan has attached enough notoriety to the family name by cheating at the school exams. The ironic thing is she is clever enough to pass without cheating.

The reason the two main characters suddenly find themselves pairs up which just leaves Rob & Maegan.

With everyone judging Rob by his fathers standard when certain opportunities literally begin dropping in his lap its difficult to blame him for taking advantage of them. First of all, there’s the money that Connor Tunstall drops when he is in the cafeteria. Rob picks it up and his attempts to return it to Connor fail. In the end he decides to give it to Owen Goettler who is on the equivalent to school dinners in the US. Which means Owen is usually eating a rather grim looking cheese sandwich. Gradually the money Rob comes across become larger and larger amounts until he steals a pair of earrings. In his “defence” the person who steals them from would not miss them or the money they cost. He has some deep thinking to do, such as should he pawn the earrings? Should he return them? What should he do?

I liked the characters of Samantha and Maegan, though throughout the book Maegan actually comes across as the more mature sister despite Samantha being the eldest. There is plenty going on in the book that certainly has you glued to your seat with the book in your hand!

I was surprised to find out the other people involved in the embezzling. Although I did love hating Connor’s dad within the book, he is a very controlling character.

Another character I was wary of but then ended up adoring was Mr London, the gay librarian with a husband at home. Despite being one of the victims Mr London soon becomes a shoulder to lean on for Rob. Through Rob’s love of books they share a hobby and have that to initiate a friendship. One that it turns out Rob really needs.


I Loved the characters that all had their own problems and family issues yet at the same time still managed to be there for each other when they most needed each other. Well written, totally believable read. 


COVER COMPARE

The cover on the above left has a dark blue background, with a row of what looks like different coloured paper hearts, like small folded notes and then the title is in a kind of loopy handwriting style. This style of cover could really be for any genre and fit it well. I do like the cover. . . 

The cover on the above right has a pale pink background, with what appear to be white paper hearts, again, like the type of bits of paper you would pass back & forth in class. Again it has the title done in a loopy handwriting style. I think the pale pink cover will make some think that this book is a kind of chick lit genre. I do like the cover....


So which cover do YOU like the best and WHY?

I would have to say though I like both covers I find the cover on the left, is the most appealing to me!



Thursday, 20 June 2019

REVIEW - THE GLASS ROAD - SECOND CITY BY KATIE FRENCH

Title: The Glass Road
Series: Second City
Author: Katie French
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 28th February 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Kidnapped. Separated. Far from home.

Meg is in trouble. Big trouble.

Meg, Murphy, and Hope have made it to Second City and found the renowned scientist and town leader, Fulton Tally. But, as soon as they’re inside the gates, guards descend and weapons are drawn. Meg finds herself locked up, alone and confused. And they took her favorite gun, goddamnit.
Plus, why is everyone calling her friend, Hope, by another name?
She soon learns Hope isn’t who she claimed to be. She is Gloria Young, singer and beloved celebrity of Second City who was reportedly abducted months ago. And she’s engaged to Fulton Tally, a man nearly thirty years her senior.
When she started this quest, Meg thought Tally would save her town and her sister, but Meg soon realizes Tally doesn’t care about her plight. He only cares that his fiancĂ© is back and he will do anything in his power to keep her.
Even murder.
Tally puts Meg and Murphy to work in his factory, where they’re no better than slaves, and locks Gloria in a gilded cage. All three need to escape his oppressive reign before Tally makes his next move and puts them out of commission forever.
 


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK

REVIEW
As soon as I finished reading The Night Road I knew Bk 2 The Glass Road was going straight onto my Must read list! The cover has a rather dilapidated, ramshackle buildings in the background with the two main characters front and center. There’s red haired Meg and Murphy the guy she met on her travels in The Night Road. I find the cover to be quite striking and I think it would catch my eye on a book store shelf. I would know by looking at the cover that it has a post apocalyptic setting and would pick the book up to read the blurb. Although the genre is listed as dystopian YA, I absolutely loved reading it and yep I am not a young adult!



This book picks right up where the first one ended with a little recap in case you have forgotten exactly where you are in the story. It’s good to have a small refresher at the very beginning. Meg still needs to find a way into Second City and give Fulton Tally the note that Trax wrote. Meg is naturally worried about how long the journey has taken to get to Second City, as she has no way of knowing if her sister Shannon is alive or not. Nor how many other residents of Shiprock have succumbed to the strange flu like virus.


Hope reveals she knows a way they can get into the city and persuade Fulton Tally to help. Hope isn’t exactly who she has been saying she is. In fact Hope isn’t even her real name. Her real name is Gloria! Gloria is engaged to Fulton Tally and she knows he will be desperate to get her back, as her presence makes him look a softer more caring leader to those that live in Second City. Sadly things do not go exactly to the plan Gloria has. In fact things go downhill rather rapidly. Gloria is taken back to her lush apartment that though it has everything she could ever need or want feels like a prison! Murphy and Meg are separated, and firstly put into cells and beaten up to keep Gloria in line. In fact Gloria going into Second City with them turned out to be a very bad decision, as Fulton Tally knows Gloria must be fond of her friends so he uses them to blackmail her into doing his bidding.

All is not lost as Gloria did have inside help to escape Second City before and those that helped are willing and able to do so once again. Meg has been put to work in a sewing factory and has to learn how to work the sewing machine pretty quickly as if you fail to sew your quota of garments you don’t get to eat. Murphy is imprisoned at the men’s factory which is putting together electrical components together. Regularly beaten Murphy is not in great shape when the time comes to follow the escape plan Gloria and her friends have put together.

We have the three main characters from the other book, Meg, Murphy and Hope/Gloria. I still liked the plucky Meg determined to do whatever is needed to obtain help for her sister and the residents of Shiprock. Murphy is still great book boyfriend material, in fact even more so in this book as he shows he would truly give his own life in the place of Meg. We do learn much more about Hope/Gloria in this book and we learn it is a large sacrifice on her part when she voluntarily returns to Second City and surrenders herself to Dr Fulton Tally. To those just looking on the surface, it would appear that Gloria has an easy life. Which compared to characters like her maid Biddy, or the women in the garment factory she does. Then you take a closer look, she has luxurious apartment, with lots of swanky gadgets, such as a tv, a food printer, and smart, lavish clothes to wear. However, she cannot come and go as she pleases. There’s the guard Dorsky on duty on the other side of her locked door. She has TV access but the news etc on it is censored and only what Fulton Tally approves of her seeing. Her only friend is Biddy. Biddy becomes a target for Fulton Tally. He knows she is dear to Gloria so threatens Biddy’s life to keep Gloria in line with what he wants. I came to adore Biddy maybe almost as much as Gloria did in the book. She is not just a maid but a mother figure, confidante and friend to Gloria.

My immediate thought upon finishing the book were that it was action packed and just when you think things are looking up for the main three characters, then some other challenge appears for them to tackle. The ending of the book leaves a great cliff-hanger and sets up Meg’s next trial. I am certainly looking forward to The Fever Road.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

WISHLIST WEDNESDAY - I AM NOT A NUMBER BY LISA HEATHFIELD

I am trying to get into doing more posts on my blog, I will of course still be adding my reviews and hopefully partaking in a few Blog Tours. I also thought I would like to add a Wish-list Wednesday post too.

I'm not sure how I missed this soon to be released book as I have read and truly loved Lisa Heathfield's other book titles,  
Seed  
(the links lead to my reviews)
The Traditionals have been voted to lead the country, winning people over with talks of healing a broken society, of stronger families and safer streets. They promised a happier future for everyone. They didn't promise this.
When Ruby is swept up with protesters from the opposition, her life is changed forever. Locked in a prison camp far from home and with her belongings taken from her, she's now known by the number 276. With horror escalating in the camp, Ruby knows that she has to get her family out - and let the world know what's happening.
Set in the present day, I Am Not A Number is a powerful and timely book for both young adults and adults alike.


PURCHASE LINKS




Friday, 14 June 2019

REVIEW & SERIES PROMOTION - A PACK OF BLOOD & LIES - THE BOULDER WOLVES BY OLIVIA WILDENSTEIN

Title: A Pack Of Blood & Lies
Series: The Boulder Wolves
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Release Date: 18th April 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender. 

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane—son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him. 

Except Ness. 

Thus begins a treacherous game. 

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
I felt ready to revisit the “shifter”/ “were-wolves” genre and came across this book. The cover certainly caught my eye with its green and orange colours with the female silhouette that represents the rather kick butt female character of Ness. I think if this book was on a book store shelf It would catch my eye and interest enough to make me pick it up to read the blurb. The genre’s listed for this book are Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens & YA, and it fits well into all of them, though I should admit I am definitely not in the teens & YA age group and I read and thoroughly enjoyed this book!

The book’s main character is Ness and at the beginning of the book she is at work with her friend and neighbour Evelyn. Ness’s mother has died but through working more than one job Ness is managing to pay her rent and continue living next to Evelyn who proved to be a good friend to both Ness & her mum. Evelyn has unofficially taken the role of guardian for Ness. Ness & her mum had been forced to leave their first home by Ness’s Uncle Jeb. So, it is a complete surprise to Ness when her Aunt, Uncle & cousin Everest turn up. There’s some arguing but eventually a compromise is made that Ness will return to the Boulder pack home and live with her Aunt & Uncle in their pub so long as Evelyn can come with her.
There’s lots of prejudice and unpleasant history as Ness is the only female in the Boulder Wolves Pack. The reason for this is shrouded in secrecy and Ness is treat and thought to be inferior to the male wolves in the pack. There’s been some major changes within the pack and at the present there is no Alpha in position to lead the pack yet. The previous disliked Alpha is dead and his son Liam Kolane has offered his name forward as the next Alpha. This infuriates Ness who treats Liam with the same hatred as she has for his father. Ness tries to talk first her cousin Everest and then her friend August Watt to stand against Liam Kolane.

It soon becomes apparent no one wants to stand against Liam, so Ness takes drastic action and puts her own name forward to become Alpha. As she puts her name forward there are two surprises thrown into contending in the form of Matthew and Lucas, both friends of Liam! It isn’t that Ness wants to run the pack herself, it’s more that she doesn’t want another Kolane to be running the pack. Matthew & Lucas putting their names into the mix just means Ness has to defeat three males instead of one! Ness is so serious she is willing to put her own life on the line. As there is now more than one contender for Alpha it means all contenders have to go through the trials. The last trial is also usually a fight to the death, which means is Ness doesn’t win she could die.

I loved Ness as a character, she has her own morals and idea’s and isn’t afraid to stand her ground. I felt immediately on side with Ness which meant auto disliking Liam, thinking like Ness that is as bad as his father, Heath. Though the more you learn about Liam and witness how he is around Ness you can’t help but begin to like and believe in him.
There’s lots of differences and misunderstandings throughout the book between Liam and Ness. However, Liam and the rest of the Boulder Pack soon grow to love Ness and want her to stay with the pack. There’s also a great secret surrounding one of the characters that I didn’t see coming from the beginning of the book. A character I did take an instant dislike for was Aunt Lucy, and I think you may agree with me by the end of the book. The old saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” fits one of the characters in the book too.

The book had a good pace, there’s the introduction to Ness and her friend/unofficial guardian Evelyn, then her pack family arrive on the scene and the pace picks up from there and it is an action packed for the rest of the book. There are plenty of different clues and plotlines to follow that make the book a brilliant read that you won’t want to put down. The only thing that kind of threw me, or surprised me was how the book seemed to jump a little. One minute, Uncle Jeb, Aunt Lucy & Everest are sampling Evelyn’s taco’s and the next minute everyone is at the pub owned by Jeb and Lucy and Ness is facing off with Liam Kolane.

I adored some of the quotes such as when Ness speaks to Liam Kolane and says “Sometimes the filth is not visible to the naked eye, but it doesn’t mean its not there.” The way Liam tries to talk Ness out of the Alpha trials was quite endearing even though Ness finds it infuriating! I don’t want to reveal much more but Ness does end up changing her opinion of those around her. Those she thought she could trust and sadly can’t and those she once loathed that are revealed as only wanting what is best for her or to help her.


To sum up after finishing this book my reaction was Wow, I have possibly found another great shifter series to read! I love the Boulder wolves and look forward to perhaps more interaction between them and the Pines Wolves. As well as storylines that may see more females being born into the Boulder Pack. There are so many possibilities for this series, it is most definitely a series I want to read more of. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for the next book!!


REST OF THE SERIES 
Title: A Pack Of Vows & Tears
Series: The Boulder Wolves
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Release Date: 28th May 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
She thought the fight was over but it was only just beginning.

Ness Clark's place amongst the Boulders and at Liam’s side is compromised. First, when her cousin claims Ness helped him elude his death sentence. And then, when August Watt, Ness’s childhood friend, comes home to Boulder.

Although August’s plan was to pledge himself and return to active duty, he finds himself incapable of leaving. This becomes problematic for Liam and Ness, because a mating link has clicked into place between Ness and the ex-marine. If not consumed, the link will fade, but that’ll take months. How long and hard can two people fight a physical attraction that renders their bodies unreceptive to anyone’s but their mates?

Ness is tired of fighting, tired of having to prove herself worthy of her pack’s trust and of her Alpha’s affection. But when an enemy pack arrives and threatens the Boulders, she has two choices: step aside and let the wolves who have pushed her away fend for themselves, or step up and help them fight the newcomers.

Ness has never stepped aside…not for anyone.

Why would she start now?


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK


Title: A Pack Of Love & Hate
Series: The Boulder Wolves
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Release Date: 13th August 2019


BLURB from Goodreads
ONLY ONE CAN WIN.

Volunteering to duel alongside Liam Kolane against the ruthless Creek Alpha could get Ness killed, but the alternative, leaving her hot-headed Alpha to die alone in the dueling ring isn’t an option. Not even when he places ridiculous conditions on her, like not spending time alone with August, her intended mate.

Ness didn’t want a mate, but that was before August stepped back into her life, before he picked up the scattered pieces of her heart. Between their shared history and the magical tether that binds them, Ness finds herself falling dangerously hard for the sexy shifter.

But Liam’s heart is on the line. A heart that still beats for Ness.

Only one man can win her love, the same way only one Alpha can rise from the duel.

Let the fight begin...


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Wednesday, 12 June 2019

AUTHOR INTERVIEW & SECOND CHANCE TO SEE MY REVIEW - WE ARE NOT OK BY N. D. GOMES

AUTHOR INTERVIEW
What or Who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I loved creative writing as a child, and went to theatre school in New York after Uni to learn more about scriptwriting but it wasn’t until I took a university writing class in 2011 that I really started writing seriously. I finished my first ever novel shortly after that, and eventually got a literary agent and signed a contract with HQ/HarperCollins in 2015. ‘Dear Charlie’ was published in 2016 followed by ‘Blackbird’ in 2017. I love creating characters.

How do you come up with the title for your book? Who designed the Cover of your book? Did you have a lot of input into the process?
The cover design and title were group decisions made by myself, my agent and the wonderful team at HQ/HarperCollins in London.

Did you basic plot/plan for We Are Not Okay? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?  
I usually don’t plan out my stories, I prefer to write freely for the first draft and see what comes naturally. After that, I map out each character so their stories have a flow and an emotional resolution at the end.

How long did it take you to write We Are Not Okay? 
Typically, it takes me around 3-4 months to write the first draft. Editing is what takes the most time.

Who is your favourite character from We Are Not Okay and why?
My favourite character to write was probably Lucy because there are so many different sides to her, and she really goes through some big changes throughout the story.

Are the four main character girls based on people you know?
Most of the characters in my books are a combination of myself and people I know.

What can we expect from you next and in the future?
I am currently completing a fourth YA novel with a 2020 publication date, and I’m really excited about it!

Where can your readers follow you?
I can be followed on Instagram @ndgomes and on Twitter @nd_gomes
I love connecting with readers and fellow writers so please do follow me! :)

I have seen that the following has been said to describe We Are Not Okay, "We Are Not Ok, is 13 Reasons Why meets John Green and Jennifer Niven in We Are Not Ok - a powerful novel about what happens when girls are silenced."

Title: We Are Not Okay
Author: N.D. Gomes
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Release Date: 2nd May 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
If only they could have spoken out.

Lucy thinks she’s better than the other girls.
Maybe if she’s pointing fingers at everyone else, no one will see the secret she’s hiding.

Ulana comes from a conservative Muslim family where reputation is everything. One rumour -
true or false – can destroy futures.

Trina likes to party. She’s kissed a lot of boys. She’s even shown her red bra to one. But she didn’t consent to that
night at Lucy’s party. So why doesn’t anyone believe
her?

Sophia loved her boyfriend. She did anything for him, even send him photos of herself. So why is she the one being pointed at in the hallways, laughed at, spat at when it was him who betrayed her trust?


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK

REVIEW
I never used to read much from the contemporary genre whether it be YA or Adult but for some reason this book caught my eye, I read the blurb and felt I really wanted to read it.



I find the cover rather simplistic yet striking. I love the colours on the cover and the large X makes you want to know what is being said is "no or banned". So I guess it tugs on your curiosity/nosey gene lol. At the very beginning of the book is a playlist of songs, I’ll be totally honest I haven’t heard of most of the artists, so can’t say I know any of the songs, perhaps they will be more relevant to the YA market this book is aimed at. I think the byline hints at whats to come in the book very well, "Four Girls, Four Voices, All Unheard". It is the perfect byline! I love a great byline.

The book is focused on four girls, Sophia Greer, Lucy McNeil, Ulana Alami and Trina Davis all seemingly similar and attending the same school. Yet looking at each different girl you learn all the individual secrets they have to keep....

It is a difficult book to describe and talk about without revealing too much of the plot, but I will try my best and share a little bit about each girl.
Sophia has a steady boyfriend, Steve, and is happy in their relationship but Steve wants to push things further than just kissing and touching under shirt. Sophia is managing to come up with excuses not to go any further but worries Steve will get fed up of her saying no and look elsewhere for the kind of relationship he wants. Then she wonders is she is saying no and isn’t ready, is it that Steve isn’t “the one” for her and does she just need to pluck up the courage and “do it”? To be fair Steve doesn’t push Sophia, yet at the same time wants to know if she will be saying “yes” soon or not? Sophia thinks about what she would call her own “short comings” in comparison to other girls at Birchwood High School. Sophia isn’t as fun and social as Trina, or as confident, pretty or popular as Lucy.
Lucy McNeill may appear confident but she feels different, she thinks everything seems different this year. Her dad has once again left the family home, he has another woman, in fact his girlfriend is pregnant! Lucy compares her father’s girlfriend Amber, to someone who she reminds her of from school. To Lucy people like Amber and Trina are the same, in her opinion they are sluts who steal others boyfriends/husbands. These “sluts” also wear short skirts and wear far too much make-up too. Even though Lucy thinks this way she cannot seem to be able to finish her relationship with Steve and ends up buying some lacy underwear and posing in it, then sending photos to Steve. At this stage I was "woah! alarm bells!" and "Oh you silly girl"
Trina Davis hasn’t got a very good reputation at school and Lucy blames her for “stealing” her boyfriend Rhys. Trina has been seeing Rhys during the school holidays and hopes their relationship continues, she doesn’t see what Rhys ever saw in his ex-girlfriend. Trina hates that everyone sees her as the bad person, they think she stole Rhys! Trina and Lucy used to be kind of friends, well they used to have quite a few classes together. Trina cannot understand why Lucy should have any ill feeling towards her, its not like she stole Rhys. As far as Trina knows Rhys and Lucy had finished their relationship before Rhys went out with her!
Ulana is a Muslim girl whose family is strict and all she wishes is to have some of the freedom the other girls seem to have. Ulana has a secret boyfriend, Aiden. They try to have “proper dates” but have to be extra careful not to be seen. Ulana explains to Aiden that her family would not approve purely because he is not a “good muslim boy”, they are “not the same”, they “should not mix” Then Ulana meets Aiden’s family and it seems that her family isn’t the other one with prejudices about who their child should and shouldn’t date.

The overwhelming feeling you get from each girl is that they are not happy, they want more than they have. It seems all of the girls are wanting to be like one of the others as well as more than they currently are. Which I guess lots of teenagers, in fact, most teenagers go through this kind of thing. The writing is very true to life and different parts of the story are told by the individual girls that section is about. There were times I wanted to shout at the different girls or shake them by the shoulders, but then I am well past being a teenager myself. I readily admit to feeling the pressure of wanting to fit in. Envying the popular pretty girls and wanting the fit boys to notice you too, rather than treating you like "one of the boys" or "one of the gang".

I really loved one of the entries in Trina’s diary about why is it when you don’t want to see someone, all you do is see them everywhere you go lol. Whereas Ulana is having the opposite experience of when you really need to see someone you can never find them. Thing like this made the book relatable to me and I am sure it will have a similar effect with teenagers reading the book. 

Obviously where there’s girls there’s usually boys and we have some strong male characters within this book such as Rhys and Steve who are also making their own way through puberty etc.

There is a kind of "the moral of this story is..." aspect to this book when the girls at the end of the book come to a realisation that things could have been so different much sooner, if only they had spoken to each other.

I found the book to be an enjoyable read, though at times it became a little bit confusing trying to keep things straight in my head as I went along. Things such as which girl was with which boy and then keeping track of which girl had what secret.

Also at the end of this book is a link to join in the 
Wear Blue campaign in November 2019. 
The link is: http://www.bullying.co.uk/