When I started reading Tall Story, I wasn't sure what to expect, as the summary doesn't give much away. What I wasn't ready for was a lovely story of...moreWhen I started reading Tall Story, I wasn't sure what to expect, as the summary doesn't give much away. What I wasn't ready for was a lovely story of friendship and family, with an emotional twist and characters that I was rooting for from the beginning.
Bernardo is a big friendly giant, who doesn't have a bad bone in his awe-inspiring large body. He's so thoughtful and innocent, and definitely stole the show for me. Between his feelings for his family and his desire to help everyone he can, he really is BFG in every sense of the word. Flashbacks to his younger teen years are used to illustrate his hardships and changes, and they work brilliantly with the present day goings-on. Andi is also a great personality, who evolves as the book progresses. She opens her mind to Bernardo and their familial attachment and, instead of treating him as an outcast, she welcomes him into her life and eventually sees him as a brother.
I know this review doesn't really tell you anything, but I don't want to ruin your reading experience of this book - you just have to go with it and see how it unfolds. While I enjoyed it a lot, I still feel like something was missing, though I'm not sure what. I can't pick anything I didn't particularly like or anything that could have been done better, it just didn't wow me as much as other books have.
Tall Story is a subtle debut from Gourlay, and one that I think will resonate with a lot of readers. I'm interested to see what this author comes up with next, as her ideas are definitely on the thoughtful side of things, and are deserving of the attention they've received so far. (less)
I read The Dark Divine without knowing anything about the story, the characters, or what I was in store for. All I'd read was the description on the i...moreI read The Dark Divine without knowing anything about the story, the characters, or what I was in store for. All I'd read was the description on the inside cover and, just like the first half of the book, it gave nothing away. I was intrigued to say the least.
The first half of the book sets things up nicely, and introduces us to Grace Divine, her overly perfect brother Jude, and the mysterious Daniel Kalbi. I instantly warmed to the Divine family, and loved the way they supported and bounced off one another. Grace is a great female lead, and has a strong sense of loyalty and independence that I find many YA characters lacking. Daniel has to be one of the most frustrating bad boys I've come across -- I just couldn't figure him out. I knew there was something off about him, but could I guess what? No, I couldn't, and I think that more than added to my enjoyment of the book. It was almost like every page had the ability to uncover a new secret, and I couldn't wait to find out what it was.
I'm not going to even mention what the sinister secret is, as it's definitely something you need to discover at the same time as Grace. I'll just say that I think it's brilliant, and the mythology and lore crafted into the legend is fascinating, and different to anything I've read previously. If you let the story unfold as it should, I think you'll be just as surprised as I was when I finally found out what was going on. Stay away from spoilers, you won't regret it.
The Dark Divine is a compelling, addictive debut, and I absolutely loved it. All the time I was reading it, and even when writing this review, I was excited, and I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. It effortlessly stands out in the sea of supernatural YA fiction, and Bree Despain should be very proud of herself. Now, where can I find me a Daniel...?(less)
The Other Countess isn't something that I'd normally read, but because it's one of the first titles to be published under Puffin UK's new Razorbill im...moreThe Other Countess isn't something that I'd normally read, but because it's one of the first titles to be published under Puffin UK's new Razorbill imprint, I thought I'd give it a go. It's a solid debut title, and has led me to believe that perhaps historical fiction is my thing after all. It's the second historical YA book I've enjoyed recently, so I think I need to pay more attention to this particular genre, and not just turn my nose up at it because there's a frilly dress on the cover.
Eve Edwards writes about Tudor England as if she lived during that period herself, with an excellent eye for detail and traditions present at that time. Every now and then the language strays into a more contemporary style, but this only happens once or twice that I remember. Edwards has taken the utmost care to preserve the time of the Tudors, and her writing shows a true passion for our country's history.
The romance present in The Other Countess is lovely and somewhat innocent, with both main characters suiting each other perfectly. Ellie is strong-willed and stubborn, while Will is every bit the protector you'd expect him to be. I'll admit to swooning at a couple of things he said, mostly lines directed at the lucky Lady Ellie.
The reason The Other Countess falls short for me is all to do with the pace of the plot. Around halfway through, things slowed down and I kept losing my concentration. I had the same problem with The Luxe series, though, so I don't think there's anything specifically wrong with The Other Countess. Even though I do still enjoy them, I think I just generally struggle with slower stories, especially ones with a historical setting.
I'm interested to see what Will and Ellie will find themselves faced with next, and whether their difference in wealth will have a bigger part in the sequel. The Other Countess is something different on YA shelves, and it'll suit those readers looking for a sweet love story with a nod to times gone by. (less)
I don't read a lot of adult chick-lit but, when I do, I like it to be of the lighthearted variety. Single in the City was a fun, humorous read about a...moreI don't read a lot of adult chick-lit but, when I do, I like it to be of the lighthearted variety. Single in the City was a fun, humorous read about a subject that interests me: the difference in US and UK culture. Gorman is an expert transitioning from one continent to another, and it definitely showed through in her story.
Single in the City started off a little bit slow for my taste, and I did wonder if I'd like it. It took me a good 50-75 pages to warm to Hannah and her decision to move from Connecticut to London, and it could quite well be because she was older than characters I usually read about. I'm used to high school drama, not 26-year-old life-changing decisions. I quickly got used to reading about (shock horror!) adults and adult problems, and soon enough I was invested in Hannah and her hilarious adventures in England.
Now, as we Brits all know, we're very different to our American friends. We have strange foods (not strange to us, obviously), ridiculously ancient buildings, a habit of saying "sorry" a lot, and a Queen complete with a whole Royal family. An American moving, or even visiting, here for the first time would see many cultural differences, and not all of them for the positive. Gorman did a top job of highlighting the randomness of England, and I did feel sorry for poor Hannah as she tried to navigate her way through it all.
From questionable men to crazy Aussie roommates and a boss that should be removed from the country, Hannah experienced it all. In fact, there was never a dull moment with her, and she had her fair share of embarrassing occurences. I mean, seriously, who flies over the handlebars of a mountain bike because they don't know how to use it?!
Gorman has written a great story about making friends and fitting in, and it should be an inspiration to anyone with a hankering to dramatically change their life and/or move here to sunny England. The characters were realistic, the setting familiar and the plot fascinating. Whether you like to read adult chick-lit or YA, Single in the City is definitely a book worth devoting some of your time to.