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Book Review – Holding Up The Universe

Title: Holding Up The Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 388

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank Penguin for sending me this book for review!

Now before I get into the actual review I sort of feel like I need to put a disclaimer on this review. I look on goodreads and I see so many people raging about this book, which seems ridiculous to me, but here we are. These are my opinions from the perspective of someone who is not seriously overweight, has not been home schooled, has no physical issues, and has NO RESEARCH on any of the issues that were discussed in this book to compare and see if they are in fact accurately portrayed.

Now that we have that rubbish out of the way, lets move on.

Much like her other book I really enjoyed Holding Up The Universe. I really enjoy Niven’s writing style and I think that she covered the topics within the book very respectfully in terms of how serious they are.

I really liked the overall theme of the story which was basically to just love yourself, and to improve yourself if you feel you need improvement and not because of what others may think would be the better you. Not only that, it also has great message that I think we as humans tend to forget a lot of the time and that is to not judge or torment or follow along with the wrongful treatment of another human being because they are different to us.

I enjoyed our main characters Libby and Jack. and thought they were very well developed and flushed out. However these were really the only characters where I thought this. All the other characters were just sort of floating around them, coming in and out of the story when something needed to be said or something needed to happen then they would fade back out again. They were not bad exactly, just not really important to the story as individuals.

Libby was a very strong characters and I loved how she was okay with herself most of the time. She was able to see how far she had come as a person and then be able to love what she had and flaunt the hell out of it despite the comments of others. Jack I liked but a lot of his issues I think could of been solved if he had of just opened his mouth about his condition at any point in time. The things he has to deal with are hard, and I cannot really related to it on that kind of level, but I feel as though he was just making it so much harder on himself by at least not telling his family. In this regards though I did like how he referred to his mum as “mum with hair up” or “mum with hair down.” Even he and Libby’s falling out at a certain part in the book would have been avoided if he would have just gone oh yeah Libby I remember who you are from before! There, so many problems solved.

This was another book I picked up as an audio book because I needed to just get it done. I didn’t mind the actors and the only real issue I had with it was that the lady who was doing Libby put on a soothing voice for her and she just sort of took it way too far. It was so ‘soothing’ that she sounded like she was heavily medicated for the whole book, but I did get used to this by the end it was a good listen.

So I think this is where I am going to leave you today. For those of you who read ATBP and enjoyed it I think you will also like this one and pick it up! For those of you who haven’t read her other book yet I think you should probably pick that one up first before this one. That one was a bit more interesting with more things happening and its probably a better place to start to get used to the topics and writing style, where this one is much more mellow.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Sun Is Also A Star

Title: The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 344

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank the Penguin for sending me a copy of this book for review!

I am of two minds about this book. On one hand I didn’t mind the story and don’t regret reading/listening to it, but on the other if I had of known prior to going into the book that it was just about a day filled with insta love I probably would have given it a miss.

We only really have two characters worth mentioning because all the rest barely mean anything to the plot of the story and they are our main characters Natasha and Daniel. Two very different people that are both on the verge of life altering events and through a collection of random events end up spending the day together in the city and pretty much instantly fall in love. Specially on Dan’s part. In saying that though I think I liked Daniel more as a character because I felt he was more honest and a upfront and generally happy character.

While the insta love plot annoyed me greatly, i did really like the way this book was written. We get perspectives from a few different people other than just our main characters throughout the story. In these perspectives you get little tid bits about the random people Nat and Dan encounter in their day of travels and how each of them are connected and how each one of their days is potentially going to affect Nat and Dan’s and why. I found this really interesting because if it had not of been for these moments I would not have given any of the other characters any thought, and it made the story much more interesting to get these random bits of knowledge.

Now because this book was given to me by publishers and I had taken so long to pick it up i decided to get myself an audiobook of it so I could listen to the story while I drive, which is a lot of time. For the most part I liked the audiobook, the actors did a good job of distinguishing between characters. However it took me quite awhile to get used to the characters that were heavily accented. I just don’t find them easy to listen too and it was so sort of forced that it kept getting me out of the rhythm of the story. This was something I got over by the end though.

The ending of the book is really what made the plot for me though. I won’t go into in detail, but for a moment there I didn’t think it was going to end up where it did and I was internally (and a little externally) screaming because of it, but it got there thank goodness.

I think that is where I am going to leave you for this one. For those who are not yet totally sick of insta love, I think you will enjoy this book. For everyone else though I think you will be alright just picking up a different book.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – Dragonfly In Amber

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Title: Dragonfly In Amber [Outlander 2]

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Length: 743

Rating: 4 Star

Series Review: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9

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Description/Synopsis:

For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time… and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart… in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising… and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

It took me forever to get through this book in audiobook form, and I enjoyed nearly every moment of it. However, if anyone is intending on doing it through audio book over a period of months, I suggest you take notes after each session because its length makes it really hard to remember many details. I apologise in advance if this review is lacking. It took me about 6 months to finish this book listening to a couple of hours a week! Also, this review is filled of spoilers. Don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers.

When it comes to writing style, there isn’t anything I can fault of Gabaldon’s writing style. I think she weaves an amazing story. All the settings are brought to life and all the characters are so detailed and have such depth.

But what the hell is with that opening.

Im not saying it was bad. It was brilliantly done. But going from one audio book to next audio book without the above synopsis I had no idea what was happening. Clair has a fully grown daughter and she has gone back to Frank to raise this daughter and Jamie is nowhere to be seen. I was so confused. I thought I had skipped a book so I stopped for ages because I could not understand what was happening. But no, it was the right book. And it took ages to go back and at least start finding anything out.

This whole book had me, because I knew something so so so sad was going to go down at the end because I knew we had to end back at the beginning. I both love and hate that. While is was not as strong for me in this book as it was in The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, I love this effect in books. When you know where you have to end, but each moment you are just dreading its approach and it doesn’t get boring.

While I did not mind the time that Clair and Jamie spent in Paris, it certainly had very interesting parts, I found this to be the part of the story that dragged the most for me. There were other parts in the rest of the book, but it is so worth getting through these dragging moments because Gabaldon just keeps throwing stuff at you left right and centre.

I adored the new character Fergus. I thought he was adorable and his relationship with both Jamie and Clair was just way too cute. They should really just adopt that kid.

But Clair and Jamie both did such stupid things in this book. I particularly wanted to murder Jamie. At the end out Outlander we find out that Clair is pregnant, and I don’t know about you but I also didn’t believe that Black Jack was dead. So when he came back I was not overly surprised. Clair makes Jamie promise not to kill him yet because she doesn’t want Frank to die and Jamie agrees. Clair also is having a difficult pregnancy and is pretty much on bed rest. But of course, Black Jack does something vile and then we find out that Jamie has run off to go kill him, despite promising Clair, basically declaring that his revenge means more to him than his family, and of course Clair has to chase after him to try and stop him. Then all hell breaks loose, and Clair looses the baby and nearly dies right along with her child.

So much of the pain in this book could have been avoided if Jamie had just used his brain. I pretty much hated him for the rest of the book. I hated Clair a bit too because she shouldn’t have gone after him, but mostly Jamie. After months and months they do end up making up, but I was so mad at Clair for forgiving him for ages. Then to top it all off she had to have sex with a disgusting man to get him out of jail for said duel with Black Jack. SO MUCH RAGE.

Fast forwarding to the end of the book, I did feel bad for Jamie when he has to kill his uncle for Clair and he gained a bit of my forgiveness back then. Then Jamie sends Clair back through the stone and we get their emotional parting, leaving us back at the start of the book. We are at the time with Geillis Duncan is in Clair’s current timeline and I thought she was going to help Clair and Jamie and somehow make it so they never have to separate and warn her so she doesn’t go off to her death but nope. They get there too late and the only thing they get out of her being in this story is that now Brianna believes her mum. I don’t know if I like Brianna or not yet, we shall see…

We go through this whole thing thinking that Jamie is dead but it turns out he isn’t. That is where it all ends. Damn cliffhangers!

Im going to leave this here. This is a very long review about my feelings regarding… mostly one thing that happened in this book, but hey, its the bits that got the most emotion from me and they cannot be expressed in little words!

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – Vassa In The Night

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Title: Vassa In The Night

Author: Sarah Porter

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Length: 296

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

So how do I even begin with this book? I knew it wasn’t going to be something I would normally have picked up and if it wasn’t for Owlcrate I might not even have heard of it.

Really my emotions are so over the place with this one. Its magic realism story. I thought the magic was bestowed by a curse but in actual fact the magic had always been there and as sort of quietly acknowledged but ignored at the same time. Then it falls upon certain places of the world to make the nights last days, time dragging on, but the days would be of normal length.

Then this girl Vassa who is sort of part of the magical community makes the choice to enter the deadly magical BY’s (is that an American store i should know about? Or just a made up part of the book?) to prove something to one of her sisters, setting off a chain of events that she was always destined to set off.

I won’t go more into the plot because I feel like anything else might be spoilers. The part I think I have troubles wrapping my brain around in this book is that everything sort of is one thing, but isn’t that thing at the same time. Nothing is as it seems, and things seem very random but very organised. As you can tell I am having serious issues trying to describe this book! This was both the draw and I think the downfall to this book getting more than a 3 star from me. At times is was so disjointed or…. I guess you could say blurry in what it was trying to be or say that I was actually sort of pushed out of the story and was not as engrossed as I would have liked to be. These times I found very boring until I managed to weave myself back into the rhythm of the narrative again. In saying that though, the general arc of the story worked and I felt very satisfied with the ending.

Most of the main characters we are greeted with in this book are not human but something other. For the most part I liked the characters, even felt a bit sorry for ones that perhaps didn’t deserve that feeling. But because of this overall way this book was presented  I never really connected with any of them other than Erg, Night or the Swans. Night was something I really connected with in this book. While I loved Erg for how she was and thought the Swans were beautiful in their love and in their own sad stories, Night sort of hit home on a more deep level to me. Moon was my first word as a child, and I think I have always had a love, even if at times a fear instead, of the night. The fact that Night was a sort of mythical energy with emotions and understanding was stunning. That Night could be lonely, or reach our to comfort Vassa in Night’s own way was just actually lovely to read.

Why did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?

I think that is where I am going to leave this review. I am pretty sure than no part of it really made sense. My thoughts on the book may become more clear as I sit with it more and not so sleep deprived but I think this is a pretty good representation for anyone considering reading this book of how it is going to make you feel once you are done reading it. I tell you, I feel rather weird and mixed up.

For those considering a read, pay close attention. THIS BOOK IS REALLY WEIRD. You read parts and have serious WTF moments over what you read. If you read the synopsis and think hell yeah! then you will probably be fine swimming in its depths. If you read it and think hmm i don’t know about that, then perhaps you should go with your instincts.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Accident Season

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Title: The Accident Season

Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery

Length: 280

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This book was a bit hit and miss for me. There are some parts I liked and some parts I didn’t like at all. One part that I enjoyed a lot that really has nothing to do with the actual story content was that I listened to the audio book for this, and I loved how the actually used voice actors with Irish accents. I found listening to them talk highly enjoyable.

The plot for this book mixes in a little bit of magic/fantasy into the reality, and normally I liked this sort of thing as with Ava Lavender, but with this book I was not so sure how seriously I should be taking it. We start off with this amazing concept that every October this family has this Accident Season where they have many simple accidents that gradually lead up to worst and worst ones and in some cases people have died. I know that if something like that happened to me every year I would have been killed off pretty quickly. I am accident prone enough as it is hahah. But as the plot progresses a question of how much of what is happening to the family is actually because of the Accident Season or is there a more real world issue that is causing trouble for the family. The twist that comes along with this is one you go along with. Its not a surprise, but I for one didn’t get annoyed that I already know what was going to happen.

The writing style is one that I love. Its really what I would describe as ‘flowy’ and even though it wasn’t perfect, it did a very good job at weaving the realistic and magical aspects together. I find this kind of writing super easy to get into and go along with no matter what you are actually reading.

Now the characters is where I think the book falls the shortest. While I enjoyed each of the characters enough, I didn’t find that they really had much depth. This lack of depth lead to me not really connecting to any of them. I didn’t want any of them to die or be hurt, but I didn’t love any of them. The character I liked the most is one that Cara and everyone else were looking for most the book and thusly wasn’t really in there.

I also found that all the characters had really weird relationships with each other. I wasn’t into the main love story in there. That kind of story has been done in a way where it didn’t bother me, but this one didn’t manage to do that. I think my weirdness for it was because the characters were weird with each other just in general. They had these secrets when there didn’t need to be secrets, and they were always changing their minds about everything and each other in ways that I didn’t really feel flowed or made sense.

Now I think I will leave this review here. I feel like I am having issues writing reviews that make sense lately, but with this book I cannot really talk about what it happening without spoiling things for you which will be my excuse as to why this one does not flow :D I would recommend this book to people who like a bit of magical realism, and want a book that has a creepy sort of undertow to it without flat out being actually scary.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – Everything I Never Told You

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Title: Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 304

Rating: 1 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

‘This ghostly novel calls to mind The Lovely Bones,’ well while I have only seen the movie at this point I am fairly confident in saying, no. This is nothing like The Lovely Bones. TLB is a magically sad story which is also about accepting things, with diverse characters and feeling. This story is filled with just horrible characters on every front. I say the alternate title for this story would be “How to be a disgusting person and a bad parent 101.” Do not compare this book to TLB.

Because this book review will be more rant than review, there will be spoilers. I cannot recommend this book to anyone, so this will be my only warning.

The plot of this book, was just not what I was looking for I think. This combined with the just wretchedness of the characters did not work for me, but I shall talk more about them later. This book deals with a family whose oldest daughter went missing and was found dead in a lake by the families home. It focuses on how they come to terms with her death, and all the things that lead up until the moment they found out she was gone. I think one of the biggest issues I had with this was we never actually found out how she died. If we did, I missed it, but to me with was all left up in the air. Did she go out onto the lake despite the fact she couldn’t swim, fell out of the boat and then drowned? Was she taken out there by another person and then was killed? Was it an accident with another person there and they were too afraid to say anything? Was it suicide? I don’t know.

In this points defence though, it was realistic in the sense that people who suffer this kind of loss don’t always get closure like this. I cannot accept it though when I hated everything else. I guess when I was going into this book too, I was expecting it to sort of be from the dead girls perspective because of the title. I guess it did mention some things that none of the family said to each other, because this family doesn’t talk, but yeah. Wrong footing from the get go.

Now onto the part that was probably the most painful, the characters. I think the only ones I liked were the children. The way they were ‘acting out’ or less than stella people were because they were just trying to come to grips with what has happened. The parents on the other hand seemed to be making the worst decisions even before everything went down.

The children state at the very start of the book that the daughter who died was the favourite child, and they very rarely actually get any of their parents, specially the mother’s, attention. We then go back and get some backstory as to why this is. This is because the mother was so against being what her mother wanted her to be, which was a stay at home cook and wife and to pump out kids. Then after her mother dies and she goes off the clean out her house, she realises that she has done exactly that and freaks out. So then she makes the wonderful decision to, instead of discussing her issues with her husband and explaining things and organising to do the change as a family, decides to abandon her family in the middle of the night and leave without saying a word, and only comes back when she realises that she is pregnant again. When she is forced to come home she decides that she will live through her oldest daughter, putting much pressure and stress on her. I also believe that when she dies that she moves on to doing the same thing with one of her other children.

Then there is the father, who pretty much leaves the family after his daughter dies, going off and sleeping with his students. He also has the huge issue of being ashamed of his family, that they were poor and Asian, hating the fact that people stare at his family because his wife is white and his children bi-cultural, and really hating anything that makes him or anyone around him stand out in anyway.

I could go on all day. But in conclusion, I felt the children were much more mature and just straight up better people and I felt for them and what they have and were going through in their lives. The parents on the other hand I cannot get over how much they disgusted me, so I will end this rant here. I am sorry for the way this review turned out, I generally just don’t have anything nice to say. I know other people have loved this book, reviewers I admire, but for me this was obviously not my thing.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Thousandth Floor

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Title: The Thousandth Floor

Author: Katharine McGee

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Length: 441

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

First of all I would like to thank Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book for review. I am just sorry it took so long to post!

The plot of this story is very slow building. You start off calm but by the end I was basically screaming about the end, even though at the very start we were told someone was going to die. At first I was really enjoying the story. It was very pleasant and nice and after finishing more serious books I wanted something light. However after the halfway point the closer I got to the end the more and more stressed I became thinking about how it was going to end.

One thing I liked about this story weaving was how simple it seemed as you were reading it but how complex it actually was. In this book we have five main characters that we get perspective from, and as you read you get their own plots or secrets and how all of these connect to one another and add up to what was the ending. However, when I tried describing this to someone who had not read the book I found it was way more difficult than I thought it was going to be.

For the most part I liked most the characters. There were a few in there that I felt if they were removed that it wouldn’t have affected the story at all, and there was a few that were a bit one dimensional whose purpose was just to move along one section of the story. But I found all the main characters at least had depth because of their own complications.

The bit of the book that struck me most though was the ending so if you don’t want SPOILERS for the ending move on! Now what the hell was that ending?! It still hurts to think about it. I wont refer to names just encase someone silly is reading on after my spoiler warning, but I liked the one I shall call Crazy at the start. She seemed lovely at the start, but as I started seeing the crazy coming out of her I started getting stressed. All the characters have huge plot things happening (one for example is in love with her stepbrother) and they all lead them to the top of the roof and the whole time I am screaming KILL CRAZY KILL CRAZY but of course that would be too great. Crazy knows all the secrets so when she pushes my possibly favourite character off the roof for something she thought she knew about her but was actually wrong about (infuriating), she manages to scare the rest of the people into not telling the police about what happened. Then it bloody ends at the funeral and the girlfriend of the person who died is swearing to find out the truth because she doesn’t believe the story that was told, and you don’t get any closure on ANY OF THE BLOODY PLOTS. None. It just ends. I both love that it got such a reaction from me, BUT I ALSO HATED THAT BLOODY ENDING. I need closure. END SPOILERS.

I think anyone who likes contemporaries with a bit of a twist, such as death and little science fiction, would really enjoy this book. Just remember the slow build and if working out who the killer is will ruin it for you, perhaps give it a miss. I actually got an audiobook of this because I wasn’t getting time sit down and read, and the audiobook was actually really good so I would 100% recommend the audio version.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Poison Study

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Title: Poison Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Length: 409

Rating: 5 Star

Series Review: 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 3.5, 3.6

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Description/Synopsis:

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I loved this book.

I picked it up because it was laying around my nans house and had nothing better to do. Not going to lie, I went in with pretty low expectations but this book just so good.

I really can’t say that there was much lacking in this book. The plot was well developed and thought through but there were some parts where I could tell what was going to happen. I loved the mix of fantasy and dystopia. We are in a kingdom which has just gotten taken over by a military regime which has both its good and bad parts which I loved it for. One part I would consider bad would be the part where magic is banned and is punishable by death, and creates much drama and stress for our main characters Yelena who was orphaned, has no idea where she came from and doesn’t understand this power she was born with. You would think that something like that would govern most of the story, but that was no the case. We had the drama of her training/being the poison taster mixed in with political issues, and then we also had the very subtle and not over powering level of the romance that budded in the story.

I have read in some reviews that people would have liked more romance, and I both disagree and agree. With the way this story was written I think that the amount that was in there was good and slow developing which I like, but I do agree with some that if the story had just been an adult novel, which it so could have easily been because of the age of out main characters, you could have gotten much more steamy love, which I also enjoy. I think I agree it would have made a better adult book but I like it still the way it is.

I thought all the characters were well developed, and while there were a few kind of throwaway people in there, I feel like at least some of them will come back and serve more of a purpose in the coming stories. Maybe. I shall see I guess. Yelena I found to be a really realistic and just straight up awesome character. The amount of rubbish she has to go through, past and present,I am amazed she turned out as strong willed as she is. She is realistic about her abilities, and gets saved by others a few times, but not at any point did I think she was just a meek character who just needs to be saved all the time. She is constantly looking to better herself in her never ending struggle to make the right decisions to just stay alive. If anyone just deserved to be left alone and have a boring life if they so choose its Yelena. With the next book I think we will be focusing on her magic and her family back story more so I al really looking forward to seeing where that goes.

I would normally talk about other characters here, but since I think part of the fun of this book is that it surprises you about hwo the people end up being, if you don’t want to be spoiled about those kind of things, this would be a good place for you to end reading the review. You have been warned. All you need to know is that I loved this book, and I think you should read it.

Rand, I knew from our very first interaction with him that he was not to be trusted. I can’t remember what he did exactly that first time that made me think it, but I was like that is weird… This guy is being sus, I don’t trust him. Turns out I was right. I Valek was an awesome character He was just as mysterious as the head assassin of the Commander was supposed to be. I am really interested in how he is not effected by any kind of magic, and I hope we get to explore that more. While he seemed cold hearted at times, he also had his funny moments and cute moments that made me go awww. I love him as a character. The Commander confused me a little. I thought he was a very strong character despite the fact he didn’t pop up much, his big secret and issue seemed a bit lacking to me. While I know its a thing, and I don’t mean to be insulting to anyone who has read the book and knows what I am talking about, his reasoning as to why seemed a bit iffy. Almost insulting… sorta.

I think I am going to stop rambling on now. I thought this book was awesome and I am very put out that my Nan doesn’t have the rest of the series. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes assassins, magic, and political plotlines since the book has all of these things.

On a completely side note, this is one of those series where the cover seems to change with each book, and I went out to try and get it but one of the covers matched for the whole series/collection of books so I have been reduce to getting it on my kindle. Again. I hope that by the time all the books are released they would have worked out their cover drama!

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Passion of Dolssa

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Title: The Passion of Dolssa

Author: Julie Berry

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Length: 271

Rating: 4 (4.5) Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame.

Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town.

The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies.

When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank HarperCollins Australia for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a full review! Sorry its been a long time in the making.

While I received an ARC of this book to read i noticed that my motivation for reading wasn’t very high last year when I received this book so I went out and got myself the audio book. I loved it. I would strongly recommend this books audio version. Its super easy to listen to and has good voice actors.

There was only one thing within this book that I didn’t completely fall in love with, and that was the high religious component to the plot. I don’t remember how I came about to get this book from the publishers, I don’t remember if I asked for or if it was just sent to me, and I didn’t remember this when I listened to it either so I went into this book pretty much not knowing anything about it, and I was not overly thrilled to find out that her passion was for god. Now I don’t want to offend anyone, I have nothing against people being highly Christian or anything, but I myself am Pagan so I am not really interested in reading about that Christian faith. Other stories I have reviewed such His Dark Materials have been marked down because of the high dose of religion. BUT it is major part of the story, and the more I got into it, really the less it bothered me.

The plot of this story was just spot on. It was very dark and had some pretty gruesome parts in there while also having some lighter moments. The way it was written had me waiting on the edge of my seat and making me eager to get back into the car again or made me sit in the car longer than was necessary so that I could hear the conclusion to something. I don’t remember finding anything predictable and parts of it nearly broke my heart. Everything was beautifully described and the pictures that Berry painted with her words were spot on.

All the characters in this book are well developed and thought out. There isn’t anyone in this book for the sake of trying to move something along needlessly or that seemed pointless. They were all well developed and had a purpose and enhanced the story by them being there, whether that took the story to a happy or sad place it didn’t matter. Despite the plot being very powerful this would have to be a character driven novel because each part was decided wholeheartedly by the characters.

The characters were great by themselves but they were also great in groups. Each relationship is introduced in a sort of gentle way that by the time you are done learning about each relationship you feel as though you are part of it and it just straight up hurts when something happens to any of them. You hurt because you care about them, and you hurt for those who also love them.

Something I also noticed more when picked my ARC up for this review that I feel needs mentioning as well is that Berry did a truly wonderful and great job at researching the time period that she set the book in. There are historical notes, additional readings, and glossaries for it all in the book! I think she did such a wonderful job that if you took out the dates, people could probably still work out what time frame in history they were reading about. You can also go into it knowing absolutely nothing about the 1200s and still just know and understand and visualise everything in perfect detail. I really love when an author puts that much research into their stories.

This is where I am going to leave you for this one. This book book was surprisingly good, and had me totally hooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction in any regard. For those who are turned off by religious things like me, take me word for it, you wont care about it by the end. I think most people would enjoy this book, if only the word of it was out a little more.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil

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Title: Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Length: 405

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Bashir “Bish” Ortley is a London desk cop. Almost over it. Still not dealing with the death of his son years ago, as well as the break-up of his marriage.

Across the channel, a summer bus tour, carrying a group of English teenagers is subject to a deadly bomb attack, killing four of the passengers and injuring a handful of others. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

The suspect is 17 year old Violette LeBrac whose grandfather was responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of dozens of people fourteen years ago; and whose mother, Noor, has been serving a life sentence for the part she was supposed to have played in the attack.

As Bish is dragged into the search for the missing Violette, he finds himself reluctantly working with Noor LeBrac and her younger brother, Jimmy Sarraf.

And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more Bish realizes that they may have got it wrong all those years ago, and that truth wears many colours. Especially when it comes to the teenagers on board the recent bus bombing. Including his daughter.

Tell the truth. Shame the devil. Bish can’t get Violette LeBrac’s words out of his head. But what he may get is some sort of peace with his own past as the worlds of those involved in two bombings, years apart, collide into the journey of his life.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank Penguin Australia for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. Sorry it took so long to publish!

I am going to apologise straight off the bat if anyone finds this review lacking depth. I am reviewing this a while after I read it and I find thriller books hard enough to review the day after I have read them. I held off writing a review for this book because I found it hard to come up with words for it and its not any easier for me now.

This book is very different from everything Marchetta has written before, but you can still feel that it is her writing the words. She is there in the way that the story unfolds, that she is more interested in the way terrorism or racial profiling affects certain families more than people on a grand scale (even though she does touch on this).

I really enjoyed the plot of this story despite the fact it is not something I am normally interested in reading, there is enough of this kind of thing just happening in our world for me to read about. I liked the different perspectives that we were given and the way we are made to question just about everything, In saying all that though I do feel like a few things were shoved down my throat more than what I would have expected from Marchetta’s writing style.

I also really liked the characters. I liked Bish the most even though I think he was a little bit hopeless at times. Marchetta is great at crafting just real characters who you can relate to and like despite how flawed they are. One small thing that I found annoying with the characters in this book though was just how many of them there were. There were a lot and each of them basically had there own plot/backstory being weaved into the main plot line and at times it became a little confusing or hard to keep up with them all.

And I think that is where I will leave the review for today. If you like Marchetta and thriller books or political stories then you would like this book and I suggest you read it. If you have not read Marchetta before and are just looking for another thriller then you may want to read some more reviews before picking it up. She has a certain style about her and if it had not been her writing it I don’t think I would have liked this book as much.

 

Till Next Time. . .