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Mini Mondays – The Girl on the Train, We Were Liars, The Silver Linings Playbook

Title: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Length: 323

Rating: 4 Star

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Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I feel bad that this review is ending up in Mini Mondays this week. It is in no way a reflection on how I felt about the book, I really enjoyed this book, but a reflection on my laziness and lack of a good memory. Always review your books straight after you read them kids!

I don’t know if I can say that I liked any of the characters, I don’t think you are supposed to like any of the characters, but I think they were really well written. At first I was a bit disgusted with Rachel, but as the story went on I felt more and more sorry for her. I wont go into why obviously but my god I would totally sort of loose my mind too and fall down some kind of emotional well also if I was in that situation.

Plot wise I wouldn’t say it was completely a surprise where the story went, but god I was taken on a ride with the story. I was surprised a lot, and I was still sitting on the edge of my seat even when it wasn’t. I was so eager to see what was going to happen next and constantly wondering how on Earth everything was going to work out for all those involved. It was creepy because I could really see something like this happening. Despite the fact I can’t remember enough for a full review, but I really enjoyed it and if you like thrillers or mysteries I would recommend this book to you. Not as crazy as Gone Girl but interesting in different ways.

Title: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult

Length: 225

Rating: 4 Star

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Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.

Another book I really liked ending up in Mini Mondays but this one is not here because I don’t remember enough. Its here because If I really tell you anything about this book its going to ruin it and I don’t want to do that. Just like everyone before I am going to say that you should go into this book not knowing anything. Even me saying that is too much. The only people who can truly experience this book are those who have never heard of it and pick it up and read it. So don’t even read on really.

I really liked this book, but it annoyed me at the same time. I knew something was going to happen and I was just constantly waiting for something to happen. The writing really plays into this. It was very segmented and very dramatic and it took me a moment to get into the flow of the writing. It creates a lot of extra mystery and I was just sitting there going yes I know hurry up and tell me.

I didn’t see the ending coming at all. Up until this point I only sorta cared about the characters because they were getting on my nerves with their tight lipped ways. Then I cared a lot. The ending also made me so angry. I was furious at it, but I can’t say why. So anyone who has read the book please message me because god I want to rant and rant and rant. In saying all that though I liked the story and it was worth most the hype it was getting. If you think you can handle the both beautiful and irritating writing style then I think you will enjoy this book. Go forth and read.

Title: The Silver Linings Playbook

Author: Matthew Quick

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Length: 289

Rating: 3 Star

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Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

So this Mini Mondays ended up having a theme of books I liked but didn’t have enough words for to write full reviews for.

This book isn’t something I am going to scream from the top of a hill for people to read. I found the writing style sort of flat, and despite it being a relatively short story it did drag at times for me. There was a lot of sport talk which really doesn’t interest me at all. The only part of the sporty scenes I liked was seeing how Pat reacted to different things or people or how it affected his frame of mind.

But it kept my interest because I found the idea of it really interesting. The thought these two very broken people coming together and basically just frustrating the other one until they sort of help each other out was a good idea. I didn’t really feel like I connected to them or feel as though they connected to each other as much as I think they were supposed to.

I found all parts relating to Pat’s interest in Nikki deeply unnerving. This kept me going, this sense of unease because I had to know where it was going, even if it didn’t really end up going anywhere. Pat is a really mentally sick human to obsess on Nikki the way he did, and I both feel sorry for him and want to keep him at a distance because it made me uncomfortable. In an interesting way.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Red Queen

Title: Red Queen [Red Queen 1]

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 352

Rating: 5 Star

Book Series Reviews: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4

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Description/Synopsis:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This review comes after my second time of reading the book. I thought I reviewed it in the past but apparently not! I did it in audiobook form for the second time around and I really enjoyed the audiobook. Lets move on.

I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.

I want to say going into this book knowing how other people feel about it, saying that it wasn’t original and predictable, I was sad. I was so looking forward to the book and then I see all these really negative reviews, I had to drastically lower my expectations. Coming out of the book I can see what they were talking about, the story in a written world filled with dystopian books or hard done by characters who sort of become a chosen one, it was not original and yes at times predictable. But in a way now I am grateful for the reviews I saw going into this book because if I had gone into it thinking how new it was going to be I might feel the same way as everyone else, except I loved it.

The unoriginalness didn’t really bother me, specially the second time around. I decided to reread because I had not read the rest of the series and I am planning on meeting the author this month so now was the time to re-enter the world. Part of me expected to like it less and I think I ended up liking it more. I cannot believe how much I was enjoying being back in the world.

I loved the characters, even when I hated them. They were for the most part really well written and developed. The only ones I think could have used some more flushing out were the King, and maybe Mare’s parents. But that is a tiny gripe in a see of characters I liked.

I loved Mare. She was a flawed human being, but nothing she did in this book that ended up badly for other people was intentionally bad for those people. She is pushed as a very manipulative character a lot, and yes she is but she doesn’t really want to be. She doesn’t start her interactions with people with the mindset of stuffing them over most the time. Something will happen, and then a situation she is already in becomes a solution or involved in something else she is doing. I worry for the way things will go for her. I love the imagery of her power coursing through her, but she is surrounded by people who act first without really thinking about how using that power may affect them or anyone else later on. She is in a world were winning is really the goal in anyones minds and I worry about how that will affect her.

They trained me for this. It’s their own fault. They helped make their own doom.

I liked both princes’ for the majority of the book. Cal and Maven are very different people but I thought they were both very similar at the same time. They are both very moody, dramatic, and powerful. But all these things come out in different ways and it makes them sort of at odd with each other. I felt bad for Maven at times because being compared to the golden child that is Cal, and then also having a whisper for a mother would really mess with his head. I loved and didn’t love Cal. He seemed so good to Mare and wanted to help her but had no interest in helping of the millions of other people like her. I can see why, he didn’t want war, but I couldn’t really get over that.

SPOILER – I knew how the book was going to end the second time obviously, but towards the the last third of the book I was really starting to doubt if I remember right. I remembered from the first time round that you are lead to believe that Cal is actually the more ‘evil’ brother and Maven is sweet and pure, but then Maven is the one that betrays Mare in the end. I knew this, but as I was reading I started questioning this knowledge. Is Maven actually going to betray her? Or did I get them muddled up in my head and its actually going to be Cal? I really loved that about the second time round. Aveyard had written it well enough that after some time between the two reads and already knowing what was going to happen, I had to question my own memory. – END SPOILER

Side character wise I wasn’t too interested what everyone else was doing, but I can appreciate the characters the same. I thought Kilorn was so damn stupid. A well written stupid but oh my god I just wanted to smack him. Stop making bad decisions because you are sulking that Mare in an attempt to save you from being conscripted is now in a life and death situation that isn’t all about you! I can see myself liking Farley more as I get to know her and she doesn’t just seem like a pushy person. She has some guts though, I would have broken for sure going through what she did in the book. Queen Elara was just scary, Julian was lovely and I pray that he is as lovely as I think he is, and just thinking about Lucas breaks my heart.

Anyone can betray anyone.

I know this review ended up being more about the characters, and thats because I liked that development the most. I really liked the world building and the idea of what is going on in this world and why everyone is at odds is so good, but the plot isn’t anything new that we need to talk about here. Despite that though I loved this book, and I cannot wait to dive into the next book in the series. Go into this one with lowered expectations and you may come out like me, a huge fan. If you are looking for something ground breaking then this isn’t the book for you.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Emmy & Oliver

Title: Emmy & Oliver

Author: Robin Benway

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 352

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favourite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Don’t let the 4 stars fool you, I adored this book. It was a bit slow moving at times hence the lack of a star but I don’t think I can fault it in any other way. The more I think on it, the more I want to change the rating to 5 star.

That’s when I first learned about true frustration, that wrenching ache when the thing that matters most to you barely makes a ripple in other people’s lives.

Yes this book has romance in it, but don’t go into this book expecting just another romance story. This book is about all the different kinds of love, how it can hurt and heal in all forms. Its about finding the good in life and moving on.

The story we are told is about two neighbours and best friends Emmy and Oliver. Spending so much time together that they develop their own secret way of communicating after hours from their rooms without their parents finding out, perhaps moving onto something that is more than just friendship. Then one day, Oliver just isn’t there anymore. He ran off after school to get into his fathers car for his weekend with his dad as Emmy watches with a folded up love note from Oliver, not to see him for many years to come because his father kidnaps him.

Then 10 years later hes back, and everyone must work out how to live with the second drastic change in their lives.

I love Emmy and Oliver’s relationship. I love all the relationships in this story. I find everything so honest and realistic. Emmy has cherished the note the 10 years Oliver has been gone, thought about the way he was dressed and their last moments before he was gone, only to have this person she loves come back, the same but completely different because there is a 10 year gap in their relationship. The balance of loving what was but accepting that what has come back is not the same. Helping him come back into the life he has told didn’t want him anymore, dealing with his fathers lies, and just being the boy who was kidnapped.

An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.

The only people that really annoyed me at all were Emmy’s parents. Their reaction to Oliver disappearing was to basically never let their daughter out of their sight again. But while their actions of taking their fears out on their daughter to the point of suffocation is not okay, I completely understand it. I loved the friends and the laughs that come along with them. Every character is written well and you can cannot with them all, even the father.

The only slight thing that gave me pause is why in the age of the internet Oliver didn’t become curious about the mother who supposedly didn’t want him anymore and bring the plot down with it. But I can also see why you might want to forget that part of your life if you believed those people didn’t want any part of you.

I urge any and all people who want something more than just another cute romance to pick this book up. It has very quickly found a place lodged in my heart.

He looked like a stranger, and then he met my glance, and it was like I had never stopped seeing him.

 

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Say You’ll Remember Me

Title: Say You’ll Remember Me

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 452

Rating: 2.5 – 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated, and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while. Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life. But sometimes love can breach all barriers.Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I received an ARC on NetGalley from the publishers for an honest review but I ended up listening to the audio book!

“You think it’s smart for a guy like me to kiss the governor’s daughter? You need to know who I was before, so you’ll stay away from me, and before, I wasn’t a nice guy.”
Elle studies me too seriously and long enough it causes me to shift my footing. “You want to kiss me?”

This book is just scraping through on the three star mark for me. There are parts in there that I did enjoy and gave me a smile. About half way through the book I really started to like the relationship between Drix and Elle. I liked the way that through looking out for Drix in his very raw and drastically different life to her own made Elle grow up and be herself and stop being so blind to life. They both also had relationships in their family that I really liked. Henry made me want to smack him at times but I know he was filled with love, and the people in Drix’s life where very supportive if not sometimes iffy.

One of my favourite moments is when Elle is with Drix’s family and they are celebrating birthdays in their very undignified way. I wont spoil it for you but it was very fun ;)

The end of the book also had me caught up in its grips. I knew something was going to happen that I didn’t want to happen and I hated to see it come. Sadly this is a down point in the book for me because it served no purpose other than to try and put shock and suspense into the story. But the things that Elle had to go through at the end to get to where they did, I admired her and then and I was worried for her.

And thats where the enjoyment ends for me I am am afraid. I didn’t remotely start getting into the book until halfway through. I found the writing very to be far too simple. A lot of the things are very in your face about whats going on and are spelled out, and the insta love was just unbearable. I don’t mind insta love in some instances, but this is the main reason I didn’t get into the book at all till the halfway point, because they had some history for their to actually be love.

I don’t really know what else to say about this book. I know McGarry has other books under her belt and I would be interested in trying some of those, but this one just wasn’t for me.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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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 – 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 & Event – Our Chemical Hearts

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Title: Our Chemical Hearts

Author: Krystal Sutherland

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health

Length: 313

Rating: 3.5 to 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Principal Valentine walked past at one point and spotted me, my forehead pressed flat against my desk, and said, “Page. Aren’t you supposed to be in class?”

To which I replied, without sitting up, “My teenage hormones have rendered me too emotionaly fragile to be in a learning environment right now.”

Valentine was silent for a few seconds, then she simply said, “Carry on.”

So I did.

I would say a big thank you to Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a copy of this book for review!

The way I came about getting this book was really… sort of like the universe telling me I had to read it. I was looking around at author events happening in Brisbane since I had such a pleasant time at BWF and I saw an event for Krystal Sutherland to talk about her debut book Our Chemical Hearts, a book I had yet to hear anything about at this point, at Riverbend Books and thought it sounded interesting so if I had the time then I would probably go. Then a couple of days later I received the Penguin email with the books available for review over the next couple of months and there it was! And its publicist just happened to be the very first publicist to give me a chance as a reviewer and send me a physical ARC. At this point the decision was pretty much made for me at this point so I sent off an email requesting the book and the Monday before the Friday event I had the book in my hands.

Now anyone who has sort of been on here for awhile that Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty much ride off days for since my schedule is filled the the brim so I was actually quite worried that I would get the to event and not have finished the book. But I managed to fly through this book in a two day stint. The writing style was very easy to read and it flowed. If I were to compare this book to other debut YA books by other authors I would not have guessed that this one was a debut.

I also thought the characters were nicely diverse and had depth to them. The only one that annoyed me (sometimes) was the only Aussie character Murray. Sometimes his slang was nauseating, but other than that everyone was fine. I think all the actions taken by each were things that people would have actually done, and none of dialogue felt forced or pointless at any point. Each character also enhanced the story or served a purpose and they didn’t feel like fillers.

I’d been truly drunk only once before, when I was sixteen. Murray had coerced me into drinking tequila with him, to test the legitimacy of the ‘one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor’ theorem. Over the course of the evening I discovered that ‘one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor’ is wildly inaccurate. It’s more like one tequila, two tequila, three tequila,vomit all over your clothes, cry while your father puts you in the shower, vomit some more, cry and ask your mother to cook you ‘salmon eggs,’ whatever that is, be put to bed by your mother, decide you’re going to escape your parents’ totalitarian regime, vomit in the garden while escaping, be put back to bed by your father, floor.

Now here comes my big issue. While I loved the plot and I thought it was really interesting to read about a story that was different from the other YA books I have read, I also didn’t like it because the entire time I was just screaming at Henry. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! IN WHAT WAY DO YOU THINK THIS WILL END?! THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! I loved the idea of becoming more beautiful after being broke, but that takes much time a and willingness to be fixed and Grace had no interest in any of that. I would like to take this moment to tell anyone is you are in a relationship in anyway similar to this one RUN FOR THE FUCKING HILLS.

The event was amazing and I am so glad I went. I love hearing authors talk about their books and lives or influences and Krystal had us all laughing at a few points. I of course got my book signed as well which is always a plus. Riverbend Books was also a very lovely bookstore that I has never visited before, and has inspired be to do a tour of Brisbane book stores at some point.

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The part I really enjoyed though was once the event was over. I got to finally meet the publicist (who I will leave unnamed just encase people try to hassle her) who gave me my first shot and sent me so many books since then, talk with the author, the bookstore owner/manager, as well as the moderator Rhianna Patrick. All of whom were lovely lady’s and were so enthusiastic about everything. Rhianna was very offended about my lack of twitter usage so now I shall have to try and become better at twitter haha. In all serious though is was amazing to be able to talk to these ladies for as long as I did :)

I think this is where I am going to leave this here. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes sad YA books, and I would recommend everyone to go to as many author events as possible!

 

Till Next Time…

1

Book Review – My Heart And Other Black Holes

my hearts and other black holes

Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health

Length: 302

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I am going to put a warning here like I do at the start of any book I review that revolves around suicide. I have very strong, negative views on the matter. If you, or anyone you know, or even if its a topic you sympathise with, you may not want to read my review. I will do my best to not sound like a jerk, but I generally cannot understand and have little sympathy on the matter. I apologise in advance. If this sounds like something you will not handle reading about, give this review a miss.

But just because it’s cowardly doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be easy.

I like the plot of this book, despite the rant I just gave. I think it was an interesting way to have people meet each other and take their journey together. The ending for these kind of books is generally predictable and I knew at least part of the result even before I cracked open the book, but learning how they came to be where they were at the start of the book, and how they changed between then and the end is something that interests me. I read these kind of books to try and get a better understanding on why some people commit suicide, but sadly this book didn’t help change my opinion or enlighten me in anyway like All The Bright Places did. There were a number of things that annoyed me too much to really make me have a better understanding about what people with depression go through, and it was really very predictable.

In these moments, it always feels like my skin is too thin, like everyone can see right inside me, can see my empty and dark insides.

The writing style was probably my favourite part of the book. I am sure that you can see that by the number of quotes that I snuck into the review. I found many of the words to be very captivating and they were the things I connect to the most in terms of understanding. If the plot and the character development had of been more of to speed with the way things were explained or written, this book would have gotten a higher rating from me.

Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.

While I felt for Aysel and understood why she had the kind of feelings that she did, I didn’t connect with her like I did Roman. Roman to me, was genuinely suffering to the point where he was drowning, his issue was that he was unsure of how to swim in his emotions. Which ones to let go, which ones to hold on to, and whether or not he was allowed to feel any different. Aysel, while still having to deal with really traumatic things, I didn’t feel like they were things couldn’t let go of. That if she had just opened her mouth, things could have been better for her. There were things people go do and say to help her through what she was going through since a lot of her issues stemmed from other people, unlike with Roman where he had to come to those conclusions on his own because his issues where with himself.

Saying all that though, Roman made me far angrier than Aysel did at times. The way he acted because of his feelings, made him a manipulator, and just generally an complete selfish ass for the most part. He needed Aysel for his own reasons, and didn’t much care about hers for a long while. Confusing isn’t it? In terms of who I think I liked better as a person, it was probably Aysel, but in terms of actually understanding why they had come to the decision that they have to die, its Roman.

SPOILER – I didn’t like the way Aysel got over her issues really either. Yes, love can help you overcome many things and can help you get through dark times in your life. Did it have to be the romantic kind of love? It would have been much better story to me if it was just his friendship and his understanding that helped. If it lead to more later, that could have been cute, but it wasn’t gradual enough for me. – END SPOILER

I think I will end this review here before it gets much longer. I am not sure really who I would recommend this book to. If you want a romance book, this is not for you. If you want something that is a good representation of how depression actually is, I do’t think this book covers that really either. But I suppose that the book did raise some interesting ways to think about life and death. If these kinds of books interest you, I would read for the writing and the pictures it creates, just go into knowing that its probably not the best one out there.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – Looking For Alaska

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Title: Looking For Alaska

Author: John Green

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 271

Rating: 3 (3.5) Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I have to say, I am not following this John Green banned wagon that everyone else besides me seems to be partying on. Besides The Fault In Our Stars, I have not really liked any of his books that I have read. I did round this book up to a 4 star but upon further reflection put it down to a 3 because I have read better things on the 4 scale. I hold up in hope though that when I get to Paper Towns I feel some of the love again.

This review will contain spoilers.

I like the overall plot of this book. We meet this whirlwind of a girl, Alaska, and get swept up in her just over-the-top behaviour and then she dies in a car crash and people are left remember. Our main character Pudge is then left to deal with his feelings for her which never went anywhere other than one stolen kiss the night before she dies. Because in his mind he had built her up to this wonderful goddess like creature, and then after her death he realises she was not as perfect as he was making her out to be.

This is the part I like. The dealing with the realistic aspects of human nature, how we are generally not all good and bad, and just because you may love someone, or that someone has died, doesn’t change those things and we need to remember and love them despite those aspects. The parts of the plot which were very generic and cliché to ‘how teenagers act out’ were less than desired though.

I think my biggest issue with this story was the fact that I didn’t connect with any of the characters. Don’t get me wrong, around the middle of the book I was really feeling for them and connect with the struggles they were having, but it was the same kind of feeling that get when I hear a news story about something bad has happened to people I don’t know. It doesn’t last.

For me the writing style was fine. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t so bad I wanted to claw my eyes out either. There were a few things I would call ‘try hard’ where they seemed to be through in there just to try and force the story to be more exciting or edgy and ended up failing. But I did like the last sentence thing that popped up throughout the book. I don’t know if any of them were actually true, but those kind of things I find interesting anyway so I liked the way they were weaved in to help tell the story.

This is the second book from a males perspective that I have read of John Green’s work, and thus far I don’t think I like the male perspectives from him. I loved TFIOS, but I hated An Abundance of Katherines, and this fell in the middle. Does he have more books from a girls perspective? I would like to pick one of those up next if he does to see if that makes a difference, or if TFIOS is just on its own.

I would recommend this book to people who have read other John Green books and have liked them so that they can see where he has come from, because I believe this was his first book, correct me if I am wrong though. If you have read a few Green books though and haven’t really been interested in what was going on I would give this book a miss.

 

Till Next Time…