Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Blog Tour: I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory with Guest Blog Post (Young Adult, Thriller, 10E/10E)

Check out the other tour stops!

11th July 2019, Bloomsbury, 336 pages, Paperback and Ebook, Review copy

Summary from press release

'You make me feel like there's something good in the world I can hold on to,' Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it's almost hard to breathe. 'I love you, Gem. And I promise I'll hold your heart forever.'

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma's life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma's and Aaron's words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

Nayu's thoughts 
I love a good thriller and I Hold Your Heart is extremely good. I feel like suspense filled music should be played, maybe dun dun, dun dun, dun dun, like the Jaws theme for this one. I've known about domestic abuse since I was in my early teens, books I read had themes of human trafficking which does include violence and it made me aware the world had some bad people in it. Fast forward to know when I love thrillers, saying yes to reviewing this story was a no brainer. Domestic violence sounds horrid, and there's no holding back on content in Gemma's tale. 

Because I knew Aaron was a scumbag from the start, I think I picked up on hints of his behaviour way before Gemma did because I immediately hated him, unlike Gemma who feels she loves him. It was agonising having to watch her become more in love with him, always wanting to please him by shutting everything and everyone who she loved out of her life, because I wanted her to escape the confinements he put on her. He is a total nutter, and while I understand including Aaron's point of view helps get into his twisted mind, it gave me chills because Gemma didn't deserve what she endured. No one deserves abuse. 

Gemma's friend Esi is incredible throughout the book, most particularly at the end. Without Esi I am certain that Gemma wouldn't have a happy outcome to her relationship with Aaron. I liked that she was a country musician - I'm not up to date with music at all, but I think it isn't as popular here in the UK as it is in the USA. Having something she was passionate in a healthy way contrasted with Aaron's unhealthy obsession with Gemma, and showed why his behaviour was so wrong. Watching Gemma lose all her freedom and have her aspirations squashed by her nutter of a boyfriend made me pray even harder that everyone who has to go through similar situations can attain freedom from their abuser. Not everyone does which is sad. 

I hope that books like this one and others can help teach readers what a healthy relationship should be like, and that be put down all the time and having to constantly adjust life to suit the boyfriend/girlfriend isn't what romance should be like. I liked how Gemma's family were involved in the story, which added to the realism of the tale, especially as they played a part in how she was pushed into Aaron's arms in the first place.

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Karen's Current Favourite Books of the Moment

There’s so many to list here, so I’ve decided to limit myself to my most recent YA and MG reads from the last few weeks.

Young Adult

·         The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James is set in the future, where the main characters, Lowrie and Shen, are the youngest people left alive on the planet. It’s a gripping story that also asks some big questions about what it means to be human and I found it a really thought-provoking and moving read.
  The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge. This is a creepy, atmospheric book, set in Norway and was totally gripping.

   We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo. A debut fantasy with two brilliant female protagonists, brilliant world-building and magic running throughout. I devoured this book over a couple of days and especially loved the incredibly atmospheric settings.

Middle Grade

·         Nevermoor and Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend. Morrigan Crow is taken to the secret and magical city of Nevermoor on the eve of her eleventh birthday. This is a brilliantly imaginative, quirky and fun adventure, which both my 11-year-old daughter and I loved. 

·         A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby. This is a beautiful and moving look at love and grief with a huge heart and is out in August.

·         Grandma Dangerous series by Kita Mitchell – I’ve been hugely enjoying these smart, funny books with my 8-year-old and they’re perfect for children starting to get more confident with chapter books.

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