Girl Online by Zoe Sugg.

girl online

 

Publisher

Penguin Random House UK – Published November 25th 2014.

 

Synopsis

I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has – I can’t believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! – and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes…

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.

 

My Review

Let me start off by saying that I am glad I waited a couple of days after reading this before writing my review as Zoe has now confirmed she had a ghostwriter (Siobhan Curham).

I have very mixed feelings about ‘Girl Online’. The writing style is very immature but at 28 years old, I’m not sure that I am the target market for this novel. I would recommend it more for ages 12-18. It is a very light read with a rather predictable plotline –

  • awkward girl meets hot boy
  • best friend becomes jealous
  • hot boy teaches awkward girl to believe in herself
  • boy and girl are separated
  • they begin to doubt their relationship and break up
  • big reunion at the end and everything is peachy

I can’t help but feel I’ve read this multiple times before. It’s the classic ‘teen angst’ plot line. Little things about the story bothered me, like using all the standard ‘touristy’ places in Brighton – beach, pier, Choccywoccydoodah etc. I would have thought that people actually living in Brighton would have had their fill of these places and visit other locations not swarming with tourists. If any of my readers are from Brighton, please feel free to correct me on that as I am just assuming.

Another issue I had with this novel is the believability of Noah as a famous musician and song writer. If you have read the lyrics of his song’Autumn Girl’ you will probably get my point. I mean…really?!

Some plot points seem to be thrown in just to fill  up pages. Elliot’s homophobic father just seemed like an afterthought and Ollie suddenly deciding that he likes Penny just doesn’t sit right with me. I mean, I get that Ollie is a symbol of her awkward phase before she met Noah and that Noah represents how she has blossomed into a confident young lady (at this point I have Britney Spears ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’ in my head but you get where I’m coming from) but why, after 4 or 5 years does Ollie suddenly want her? There is no reason given. I’m probably being pedantic here but it annoyed me.

Anyway, enough whining, lets get to what I did enjoy about ‘Girl Online’. It was a light enough read to pull me out of an almost-4-month reading slump. I could just switch off and relax whilst reading it and didn’t have to concentrate too hard to follow what was going on. I only actually took around 3 hours to read this which surprised me as the book does look fairly hefty but if you look inside you will see the print is quite large. Honestly, the book could have been condensed down a lot more to save paper. I am however, interested to see where Zoe (Siobhan?) goes with the next installment.

I have deliberated long and hard about the rating for ‘Girl Online’. I originally wanted to give it 2.5 stars but in the spirit of the holiday season and taking into account the fact that it has eased me out of my reading slump, I will give it 3 stars. I would recommend this for teen readers who want a nice, easy read over the Christmas holidays.

 

Rating

starstarstar

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***BLOG TOUR*** Quest For Honor by David Tindell.

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Hi guys, I am so excited for my first blog tour. Especially as the book sounds so amazing and I get to share an excerpt with you lovely people.

davidThe author, David Tindell, is trained in martial arts much like the protagonist of this novel. You can find David on Twitter here and also visit his website here.

So here is a little bit about ‘Quest For Honor’ – 

“I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.” Julius Caesar

Jim Hayes lives a quiet life in Wisconsin, training in martial arts and studying the warrior ethos. Unable to prevent the murder of his wife six years earlier, Jim is determined that the next time he is called upon to act, things will be different, and he can restore the sense of honor he believes he has lost.

His estranged brother Mark, an Army colonel commanding a firebase in the mountains of Afghanistan, sees his career winding down and wonders what lies in store when he comes home. After years of dedicated service to his country, he fears nothing else will measure up when he removes the uniform for the last time.

In lawless Somalia, al Qaeda chieftain Yusuf Shalita, tired of endless jihad, has decided to defect, in one last attempt at redemption. But Shalita has only met one American he has ever trusted, so he tells the CIA he will surrender himself to Jim Hayes, his old friend from their college days in Wisconsin. That demand will bring the Hayes brothers back together in a way they never imagined, as they fight to prevent a new and devastating terror attack on the very heart of America.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? I love the cover too. A lot of the time I find that the cover of a book is what draws me in. If it’s a book I haven’t heard of before or a genre that I don’t usually read, but the cover catches my eye, then nine times out of ten I will pick that book up and add it to my TBR pile. Here is the cover.

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And here is the bit that I have been looking forward to the most. I love when I get to share something special with you and it doesn’t get much more special than a thrilling excerpt from the book. So here is the super special excerpt that I have to share with you all.

***Somalia

They came for him sometime mid-morning, the same two men who had brought him breakfast a few hours ago, some sort of broth with a few vegetables, hard dark bread and a bottle of water with an Arabic label. They were Middle Eastern in appearance, early twenties, dressed in nondescript shirts and fatigue pants, with one guy incongruously wearing a Boston Red Sox cap. Jim got to his feet and stood with his hands raised. The Red Sox fan came in first, leveling his AK-47 at Jim. Another armed man appeared behind the first in the doorway. The first guy said something to Jim, motioning with the gun to the door. Jim took some cautious steps toward the doorway, keeping his hands visible. He forced himself to smile, and the second guy’s eyes narrowed.

There was a hallway with two more doors on the right, the same side as Jim’s cell, and three on the left. At the end was a larger door. When they opened it the sun blazed in. He shaded his eyes with his left hand, making sure to keep the right held shoulder high, palm facing outward.

They were facing what appeared to be a central square, with low, one-story buildings around the perimeter. Behind them was a wall about ten feet high, looking like it had been built with the same material as the buildings, probably some kind of bricks made out of mud. There were men walking here and there, some standing and watching them. Every one of them had an AK, some held casually, others loosely from the shoulder by a strap. They didn’t look nearly as tough as the troops Jim had seen at Camp Lemonnier, but Jim knew it would be dangerous to make that assumption.

Everyone in motion stopped when they got sight of the tall American, and they stared. Some looked curious, most hostile. There were a few dark-skinned Africans, but most were Middle Eastern, all with beards. Some looked to still be in their teens, while a few showed some gray. How to deal with those stares? Show no fear, Jim told himself, but that wasn’t easy, because he was starting to feel the first tendrils of something stark and cold reaching into him. It was worse than what he’d felt the night before in Mogadishu while being hustled at gunpoint through rubble-strewn buildings with artillery shells crashing nearby, then shoved roughly into the back of a truck, blindfolded and tied to his seat.

He was led to a long building and pushed inside. It appeared to be some sort of conference room, maybe a chow hall, as it had some rickety-looking metal tables and chairs, now moved to the sides along the walls. At one end hung a black flag featuring a yellow circle in the middle and Arabic writing above it. Jim recognized it from news broadcasts: the banner of al-Qaeda. The writing was the shahada, referring to Allah as the only God and Muhammad as his prophet. Beneath it were three men, sitting in chairs. A dozen feet away were three empty chairs facing them. Jim was shoved roughly down into the chair at the right end.***

The book is available to buy on Amazon in either Kindle or paperback format (and for my UK readers, it is also available on the .co.uk version of Amazon as well as the .com) and if you live in the USA you can go down to Barnes & Noble and pick up a paperback copy. (Why don’t we have Barnes & Noble here??). Unfortunately Waterstones doesn’t carry it but if you’re in the UK just grab it from Amazon. If you have a Kindle you’ll get it instantly and even if you order the physical copy, I find that Amazon’s delivery is top notch and the packaging is fantastic. I have never had a bad experience when purchasing through Amazon.

Thank you all for reading and make sure to get your copy of ‘Quest for Honor’ to find out Jim’s fate.

Boring disclaimer part: I have not been paid by or offered any incentives from either David Tindell himself or the promoters of this book. This post contains entirely my own views and I have received nothing in return for it.