Book Review: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

wp-1488929385768.jpegA beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.”

I went into reading this book, completely and utterly oblivious to what this book was about whatsoever! All I knew was the title and that I had seen it popping up here and again, so I wanted to see why this book was so popular. Sometimes, I love to just dive into a book that I have no idea what it’s about. I haven’t read the description, any reviews, nothing. Just taking the cover and the title and going for it. Have you ever done that? Because that’s exactly what I did when it came to this book and I will admit that it was different to what I was expecting. Honestly, I don’t really know what I was expecting if I’m being honest.

I will admit that there were parts of this book that were a little bit blah when I was reading it. It felt like I was reading some ramblings or something and I wasn’t that keen to keep reading. It felt like a chore, which is sad because it’s only a short book, at about 200 odd pages. But then I didn’t want to put the book down and I became engrossed and felt as though I was involved in the mystery of the story. I wanted to discover the truth, just like Cady. But believe me, I was completely shocked by what I discovered towards the end of the book. That kind of ending is either cleverly or poorly executed, in order to surprise the reader and I was completely surprised and I think in this case it was cleverly done. I felt so stupid for not realising and uncovering the truth for myself, because once I knew, parts were obviously hinted at. It’s now making me want to re-read the book again, as soon as I finished it tbh, to see if I can now see the plot better and spot what so clearly put in place for the readers, especially knowing what I now know. But also to see all the ways to see where the author tried to trick the reader, seeing if I can spot any inconsistencies.

I don’t want to give too much away when it comes to this book, because I am glad that I went into it completely blind. The less you know the better. There is something that did irritate me and I’m am stilling questioning as I’m typing up this review, but that may cause a spoiler. But props to this book as not many surprised me and get me like this book did, which is why I’m giving it four stars out of five! So if you want to read a Young Adult, Contemporary book with a lot of Mystery, then give this book a read. Plus, it’s a quick read with only 227 pages.

4 Stars

Book Review: To Die For – Alice Clark-Platts

To Die ForIn an empty car park, Ryan James sits in his car contemplating death. He has set up a hose pipe that is pouring carbon monoxide into the car, and his deciding whether or not to close the last window and end it all. Finally, he gets a text and decides to end his life.

Detective Inspector Martin is called to the scene the next. At first she is convinced it is a simple suicide but as she looks deeper into the boy’s life and his relationships she begins to wonder if someone else was involved.”

I selected this audiobook to download and listen to for two reasons, it is a short little story, just over a hour long and because it was a free download. FREE!

This was a quick and easy listen, which was exactly what I was looking for, to listen to while I was working out in the gym, instead of listening to music. This audio book did exactly what I wanted it to do, especially for such a short story, listening to the whole story in one listen!

The story reminded me of something that has actually happened and just kept me thinking throughout the whole duration of the story. So I had no problem believing this story one bit. There were some extra twists and turns in this book that I wasn’t expecting and it did keep me hooked throughout its entirety, although that isn’t hard to do as it’s only roughly 1hr and 9mins long. For a book that is only this amount of time you wouldn’t expect to be able to enjoy it as much, but maybe because this is so similar to something I read in the news it was easier and quicker to get into the story.

One thing that I didn’t like was the poor character development, which is expected with such a short story with the short amount of time. The development was at its minimal, topped then with its sudden change in how the reader/listener is suppose to suddenly change their feeling and emotions from hatred to sympathy towards one particular character. That just took me by surprise and frankly this was impossible for me to do.

But overall I did enjoyed this little short story. It was easy to listen to, to follow, to keep myself hooked while busy doing other things surrounded by other people. A nice quick little read/listen and it was FREE and didn’t use any credits or anything.

3.5 Stars

Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) – Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword ReviewWARNING!!!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 RED QUEEN!!!

“Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?”

I went into this book thinking that I was going to really hate it because of all the negative and bad reviews that I had heard and read EVERYWHERE when this book was first released. This is why it has taken me so long to actually read this book, from then to now. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and was so eagerly awaiting this sequel when it first came out, which is why I think I have been therefore putting off reading it for so long. Plus I also read the two novellas, Queen Song and Steel Scars thanks to Netgalley in anticipation for this book a while ago and they were such huge disappointments!

I am a stickler when it comes to series and wanting to see how stories, plots and characters unfold and completing them, and I was already one book and two novellas deep, plus I had already bought the book. I was however, pleasantly surprised by how much I did enjoy this book. They do say if you go into something thinking you’re going to be underwhelmed, then you can only go up and I did. Don’t get me wrong, there were some bad points to this book and reasons I can clearly see why there are so many bad reviews, plenty of them. It can be majorly repetitive which was really annoying, it doesn’t quite live up to the first one book as most sequels don’t, and can be quite a daunting, drawing out a little, making reading this book feel more like a task rather than enjoyment at times. But it did have it’s good points to it also. You do get to see what happens in the aftermath of how Red Queen ended and how all the characters deal with it and how the story then goes from there. You get introduced to all of these extra characters, building up this plot and leading you up to this ending and you get to see the world a little bit more from the other side. We get to see how the events of the previous novel had an impact on their lives and their mental states. We get some heartache and we do actually get some action. But it does seem rushed at points also.
But for me, I hated Mare! This isn’t good when she is the main character of the book, and even more so when this whole entire book is told from her perspective. I can never really connect to a book when I hate the main character, because I have no emotional investment in this book. There was one truly sad part and that just made me hate her so much more. But maybe it is a little justified to a degree, without giving away spoilers. I would read the third book, which is why I read this book now, and hope that it’s better than this one, maybe reading and listening to reviews first and hoping it jumps back up to the quality and story we all loved when it came to the Red Queen!.
3 Stars

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets“There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.”

Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone… Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true”

This is the second instalment in the Harry Potter series and as I remembered, or slightly remembered, this book didn’t disappoint. OMG the amount of times that I laughed in this book while reading the scenes between Mrs Weasley and her sons was incredible. I can’t remember the last time I actually laugh so much while reading a book and pure genuine laughter. Sensational. Yet this book still looked at some dark and scary times, so those scenes were just what was needed, while also slowly bringing the reader slowly into the dark world, that these book do end up becoming. You need these characters that just provide you with this much joy and that’s so perfectly timed also.

Re-reading this book you get to see all of the subtleness that you missed when you read it for the first time. The little mention of something here and the sprinkle of something there, that when you have no idea what the ending of the book is going to be, is so ingenuous and so great to read, while you are re-reading it. I was reading it this time around with  smirk on my face at these little subtleness’s, truly appreciating the amount of work and effort there was from J.K. Rowling put into this book. I am really glad that I am re-reading these books, because I never did appreciate the greatness of the story of a whole, the way it all links in together, and I am taking so much more away from these books now as an adult than I ever did as a child/teenager. Even though I am an adult and reading this book, which is about a couple of twelve year olds (in this book), I can still connect to the characters and the story, maybe because it brings back memories for me, or because I am taking away so much more and like I do always say, these books are not just for kids.

I couldn’t recommend these books high enough, as I do believe that everyone should read this entire series at least once in their life, and then if you read them as a child, give them a little re-read as an adult. See if you have a different experience. Roll On Book Three!!!

5 Stars

 

Lazy Sunday Reading…

Hello there everyone :D👋

It has been a busy month for me and my family, which means I haven’t had much opportunity to read. So today, I am taking the opportunity to have a lazy Sunday and just cwtch up and just read. I have been reading this one book for at least two weeks and it is my plan to finish it today or tomorrow at the latest. Then tomorrow I can write up several reviews I am behind on posting. It can be a little frustrating as my boyfriend is a really fast reader and is by the side of me and has finished a book already this morning. Grrrrrr Jealousy is definitely creeping in. In case you were wondering what book I am currently reading and have pictured above, it’s Glass Sword (Red Queen book 2) by Victoria Aveyard.

So that’s my Sunday and how I plan on spending my day. What are you all doing today? 

Book Review: The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley

the-loneyI received this eARC thanks to Netgalley and the publisher and author, providing an honest and unbiased review of this book.

Where do I start with this book… There is this place, a truly strange, somewhat near deserted place, between Wyre and the Lune, that is known only by what the few locals who remain there call it. That place is called The Loney. Every Easter, Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest, would take a pilgrimage here for its mystical Shrine, along with the unnamed boy narrator and his suggested mentally ill and mute brother Andrew, known better as Hanny, in order to help heal Andrew thanks to God. However, this year is different. Father Wilfred is dead, declared accidental, but is there more to the story? So now there is a new priest to take his place, Father Bernard, who has his own ways, but are people willing and ready to accept him and his new ways or do they prefer things how they were?

In all honesty, I’m really in two minds when it comes to this book and about whether I enjoyed it or not. It took me a while to get into the story and when I say a while, I mean at least a third of the way through. If I hadn’t been reading this book for Netgalley at the time, then I don’t think I would have finished reading it, that’s how long it took me to get into this book. It started off with a slow pace and for me it wasn’t until they actually got to the coast or The Lonely, where it started to actually pick up the pace. But that’s when I got into the book and it hooked me. I wanted to find out more and therefore needed to keep reading on! I had questions and wanted answered, or I just simply wanted to read another chapter and another chapter because I didn’t want to stop.

I will admit that I didn’t realise how much this book was going to be centred and based on religion and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get into the storyline, as it was a bit off putting. It was interesting to read a book that did focus so fully on religion in this way, but it did come a bit unexpected. This cover grabbed my attention instantly and has to be one of my favourite covers I’ve seen in a while. I love it, and I knew it was meant to be a horror book, so I barely read the description before requesting to read this book on Netgalley. Maybe that’s my mistake, but descriptions can sometimes give away too much information and then spoil the entire book. Like trailers with movies.

One thing I loved about this book was how it was told. The beginning of the book starts off with the unnamed protagonist narrator beginning his story to us, the readers, at his current age, trying to get his point of view of past events across, before it’s too late. The book then goes back to when he was younger and he then begins that part of his story to us. We get to see everything from his eyes and how he saw and remembers it all, which shamefully took me a while to realise what was happening. Throughout the whole book, we never get to know his name! This does annoy me, but yet I also think that it’s fitting for his character, as he never really gets any of the attention in this book. The character who shows him the most attention is Father Bernard, who subsequently gives him his own little nickname, which is the only name we hear him called throughout the entire book, and that’s Tonto.

I personally believe that there are some very strong characters, with great development behind them, illustrated in this book. Even though I couldn’t connect to several of the characters because of their strong religious beliefs and how much it defined them, how they were presented in the book was strong. There were others I loved. I loved the relationship between the brothers ‘Hanny’ and the main protagonist ‘Tonto’ and how only siblings are and how they have their own special relationship. They are able to communicate in way that no one is able to in the whole entire book. In fact, ‘Tonto’ is maybe to only person who is able to properly communicate with Hanny. Their relationship kind of reminds me of George and Lennie’s relationship in “Of Mice and Men”.

I don’t think that I would class this book as a horror book, as it didn’t frighten or scare me, especially compared to more thrilling and terrifying books. It just wasn’t creepy enough. But maybe that aspect was lost on me as I wasn’t fully engaged enough to be afraid of what I was reading. There are elements of supernatural, I think, mixed in with religion, but it’s hard to identify which is meant to be which.

When it came to the ending, it definitely left me wanting more. In my eyes, it had been building up to this big ending, or big reveal, and it just left me completely unsatisfied, with questions left unanswered. I’d even been expecting some plot twist at the end for some reason, which didn’t occur. For a book that was 367 pages and wasted pages on unnecessary parts, it could have used that time to spend it answering those questions and building towards a better ending.

So when it comes to my recommendation of this book, I will say that it all depends on what your personal preferences are. This book does have some high reviews, so I may be in the minority that didn’t appreciate it to its fullest. I did enjoy it, but was left dissatisfied and it did take me a while to get into it. If you don’t like overly religious books, then maybe pick a different book. I’m only giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my favourite either, just maybe the wrong book for me.

3-stars

Book Review: All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

all-the-bright-places-jennifer-niven

I have heard so many good reviews of this book that I had to buy this it for myself and just see what all of this fuss was about. To be honest, I ended up buying two versions of this book, paperback and on audiobook and it was the later that I ended up experiencing this book through. Here is the books description thanks to Goodreads:

“Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.” – Goodreads

This would’ve been my third time listening to an audiobook, but for me and there was something special about listening to this book particularly as an audiobook. It may have been the fact that because this story is told from two different characters perspectives, as an audiobook they have used a male and a female voice in order to portray both Violet and Theodores’ voices, our two main characters. This added some realness to it all and a much deeper connection, for me anyway, towards them both as characters. This book is written from a first person perspective, so it felt as though they were each telling me their own story, like a diary or a friend, which may have been a completely different experience if I had actually read the physical book. The voices held and showed so much more of the emotions that the characters were mean to be having at the time of certain events, which make it feel more genuine, as you could hear that they were about the cry, the breaks in their voices, chuckles, nervousness, and so on, which just added those little extra bits that you definitely  wouldn’t get from reading the actual physical book. And you can connect more when you can hear things like that. Anyway, back to the actual review of the story.

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are our storytellers and main characters of All The Bright Places, and even though I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started listening to this book, except that there was going to be something to do with mental illness and that the book is poplar, I am so glad that I picked it up! This was such a great experience for me. The storyline starts off big, with Theo and Violet meeting on top of the School Bell Tower, where they were each going to jump off, unbeknownst to them that the other person was there. Luckily however they were and that’s just where their story starts, getting better as time goes on. From there we get adventure, romance, sadness, happiness, times that make the reader smile and such tragic times that make you scream nooo! The emotions.

The characters themselves couldn’t have been any different. One of them looking forward to the future and counting down the days, while the other was always thinking and coming up with new ways someone could come up with killing themselves. But there was something a little off with them both. I found myself connecting so much more when it came to Theodore’s character, than Violet’s. Even though he felt more distant at times, it felt more real for his character. His quirks, his experiences in his life, I felt more for him, remember more about him and his life after finishing the story, therefore that’s shows how much more I connected with him. Whereas, when it comes to Violet, it just feels like she was an extra piece in the story at certain points. An extra point of view to add to the story, or some extra emotion or additional story to add and watch playout and unfold, adding even more emotion. Possible even using her character as a way to boost or show more of Theodore’s character.

It takes a lot in a book to create genuine emotion and make me care that much about a character or to get me so invested in a story that I cry or show, again, genuine physical sadness. This was one of those books! I didn’t cry, but the heartbreak I suffered because of this book, even though I had somewhat expected it, was still so unexpected and surprised myself. This is why I have given it 4 stars and why it’s going to stay with me for a while. Even the author’s note after the story had ended. I may have to read the actual book and see if I get the same reaction as I did while listening to the audiobook, only not anytime soon because I can’t handle the sadness so soon.

Definitely worth a read and I would recommend!

4-stars

Discussion: What kind of reviewer are you?

Hello there 😀

I have chosen to do my first discussion topic on something that all Book Reviewers and people who read Book Reviews should understand. This is my second website that I have created, and in doing so I have made the decision to not include starred or number based reviews in any of my reviews. The problem I find with including stars or numbers is that you are, or I was at least, constantly comparing books to others I’ve read and reviewed, therefore judging which was better and using the star/number system as so. If this one was better than that one, then it deserves a higher rating, but it wasn’t as good as this one, and definitely didn’t deserve the highest rating. I didn’t want to have to worry about this when it came to my new site and reviewing books. I wanted to be completely honest and open, so I stopped using them, this way it could just be my honest, unbiased review. However, when it comes to Goodreads and online review sites, eg Amazon, NetGalley etc, I still use the star system to rate books.

However, when I read other people’s reviews on Book Blogs and other places, I do subconsciously seek out what they thought by looking for their rating. I know this makes me a hypocrite, but sometimes it’s the easiest way to see if a book you’ve been interested in reading for while is any good, without reading a lengthy review.

What about you? What kind of reviewer are you? Do you like seeing a star or numbered rating when it comes to reading book reviews? How do you decide what to rate the book you’re reviewing? And how do feel about reading book reviews that doesn’t include any star or number ratings? 

Book Review: Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

baby-doll-hollie-overtonI would like to thank NetGalley, the author and publisher for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.

OMG!! From the very first page this book had me hooked! Told from different characters perspectives, we discover how Lily, who was kidnapped at aged 16, was beaten, raped, “trained” and manipulated over the course off 8 years, even mothering a child from the man who took her and did all of these terrible things to her. The story starts eight years later, when her taker, her former beloved English teacher Rick, has too much on his plate or becomes too cocky and too greedy, forgets to put the deadlock back on the door. Lily thinks that she’s just imagined this, or that it’s another test that she will get punished for, but then seeing her daughter curled up sleeping, she risks yet another punishment, for her daughters safety and checks the door. Discovering it’s not a test and he’s finally made a mistake after eight years, Lily wraps her daughter Sky up warm and starts running to safety before Rick remembers his mistake. And that’s where the book gets really, really good….

This book is hands down my one of my favourite books that I have read lately and it came out of nowhere! I found this book so captivating right from page one and every page just managed to grab me, pull me in and keep me hooked. It was written amazingly, with characters that I cared so much about, each and everyone. With a villain that I simply hated. A normal, every day man to people’s faces, but behind closed doors, sadistic and PURE EVIL!! When you have a book with so many characters, who each have their own problems, and to care and understand each of them and their problems, it’s, in my opinion, really good writing. There were chapters written from the perspective of individual characters, which was brilliant and something that I love as a reader in certain books because I get to see inside each of their minds in a deeper way, and I creepily loved being able to see inside the mind of Rick. Seeing why he did what he did, in a way that he could never explain to anyone, in a way that he truly believed was right and acceptable.

I would have loved, to have seen just one chapter, maybe at the end of the book, to have had one chapter from the point of view of Sky, Lilys daughter, just to see what she had thought of it all and how she had felt after going though it all and come through everything. It would have added something extra, especially coming from a child’s perspective of it all. Even more considering Sky had been born not knowing anything different, to then discover a new way of living after “leaving” the cabin, thanks to her mum, Lily. It would have made it interesting to have included one chapter at the end to see how Sky had interpreted it all and see it from her point of view. But I understand not having that and I loved how it did end. In fact, when a certain part happened, without giving away spoilers, I was in utter shock!!! I was reading this book and genuinely gasped out loud out with shock, being surprised towards the end, telling everyone around me to be quiet because I had to find out what was about to happen next!! Not caring what people said or how they were looking at me, I just needed to know.

Trying to put myself in Lilys place is a scary thought, which is why I think I got so engrossed in this book. It took something that could really happen, and has been known to happen, and brought it to life. It’s not ghosts or vampires or anything pretend scary, and it didn’t even have a vicious villain, not really. It had a well liked, or really loved man in the society that nobody knew what he was like, really like, deep down, not even his own wife. That’s the scary part! It could be reality. That’s the truth of this story! That you don’t know what people are really like, not really, no matter how well you think you do. Your next door neighbour. Your friends. Your husband. Your cool english teacher who offers you a lift home. It’s realistic and scary.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough!! This book will stay with me for a while and have talked about and recommend this book to so many people. I will definitely be checking out Hollie Overton and keeping my eye out for more of her books coming out.

5-stars