5 THINGS ABOUT GAP YEAR IN GHOST TOWN A different kind of Halloween read This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
INITIAL REACTION [image]
5 THINGS ABOUT GAP YEAR IN GHOST TOWN A different kind of Halloween read This is a book about ghosts, but it’s not a scary haunting thriller type ghost story. It’s much lighter and more enjoyable. Which I’m grateful for because ghost stories creep me out.
Percy Jackson x Supernatural I know we hate book comparisons, but this just fits so well! Anton reminds me a lot of Percy in terms of humour and voice. He’s sassy and has such a quick wit, it was so entertaining. And how could you not draw the Supernatural comparison when hunting ghosts is the family business? It’s most like early seasons supernatural before all the angels and Rapture stuff.
LoveOzYA Not only is this written by an Australian author, it’s set in Melbourne! I’ve never really been to Melbourne city so I didn’t have the appreciation of familiar settings. But still, I knew the names of places mentioned and was super excited when they mentioned towns/ suburbs where my family lives.
So many pop culture references! There were so many pop culture references scattered in this book it was amazing. I got most of them (my jaw hit the floor when the Fairy Tail reference popped up) but still there was a lot I didn’t get (I fail as a nerd).
I’d love to know more This ghost hunting world is so interesting, I don’t want to leave. I want to know more about the Marin family history and the Company of the Righteous. Then there’s the evil groups floating around the edges. Also I ship Rani and Anton a lot and almost need a slow burn development over a few books (there’s no romance in this one). There is so much potential for a series, I’m actually sad it’s only a standalone (for now at least).
In Summary GAP YEAR IN GHOST TOWN such a fun, entertaining read. The plot was alright, but it was the humour and characters that really made the story enjoyable. It’s definitely made me want to check out more of Michael Pryor’s stuff in the future....more
5 THINGS ABOUT THE UNDERCURRENT #LoveOzYA Paula Weston is a #LoveOzYA author I’ve seen a lot of,This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
5 THINGS ABOUT THE UNDERCURRENT #LoveOzYA Paula Weston is a #LoveOzYA author I’ve seen a lot of, but haven’t read before now. And I must say I really enjoyed THE UNDERCURRENT! Especially since it is set in a very near future Australia (only 20 or so years in the future), and features locations that I’ve visited myself. And not just big cities, I’m talking obscure country towns I’ve stopped at for breaks on road trips (Coonabarabran is a frequent stop of ours! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it in THE UNDERCURRENT)
Standalone New Adult Sci Fi I can’t think of many New Adult sci fi/ fantasy novels I’ve read (all the clear NA books are contemporary romances set in college I swear), let alone standalones! THE UNDERCURRENT has certainly given me a want for more standalone novels like it. It’s short, fun, and a great read that doesn’t focus heavily on the romance like most stereotypical NA novels do. The experience was refreshing.
Interesting power not entirely explored Julianne’s electricity is not a power that I’ve seen in novels before, and one that is very useful and interesting… if she’d had more of a chance to play with it. But this is the downfall of a standalone: less time to explore the powers and the world. We do get to learn more about the powers over the course of the novel, but never the chance to watch Jules test her limits.
Dips in the middle The start and end of THE UNDERCURRENT are full of suspense and action, but there is a lull in the middle. Most of this is due to the nature of the plot. This story doesn’t just follow Ryan and Jules, but also Jules mum, Angie, and Ryan’s boss, Major Vass, as they split up. Angie and the Major are following leads in a domestic terror threat, while Jules and Ryan are forced into hiding. A lot of this middle section is uncovering plot points and exploring character things rather than action.
A fun read It may have lulled, but I still really enjoyed THE UNDERCURRENT overall. I can’t entirely explain why. It was just what I wanted at the time and managed to grab me. I was up until 1am reading the first time I opened it. Paula Weston is definitely an author I need to check out again. If her other books are anything like THE UNDERCURRENT I’m in for a great time.
In Summary THE UNDERCURRENT was a read I enjoyed a lot more than expected. Being a standalone, there isn’t as much sci fi explored as I liked. But I did love the Australian setting, a lot of which was familiar to me, and the characters....more
5 THINGS ABOUT BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRL LoveOzYA PROMOTE ALL THE AUSSIE BOOKS!! Vikki Wakefield is anThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
5 THINGS ABOUT BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRL LoveOzYA PROMOTE ALL THE AUSSIE BOOKS!! Vikki Wakefield is an author I’ve heard nothing but good things about, and I’m so glad I can add her to my list of Aussie Authors read. I definitely need to check out more of her stuff after BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRl because it was so well written.
A large focus on family, friends, grief, and mental health An important part of any contemporary and mystery is the characters. If they’re mediocre and you can’t connect then it’s going to be a struggle. Fortunately I really connected to all the characters and their emotions. It’s such a supportive group of family and friends who have their issues but work through them and are there for each other as they struggle with life and mental health. I got the feels from them.
Mystery that actually surprised me For once I did not predict all the mystery twists!! I actually was surprised with the turns it took with the mystery. It was so nice to have something different and new to read.
There was zero romance I cannot remember the last time I read a contemporary that didn’t even have the slightest hint of romance!! After the first chapter or two I thought for sure a romance would develop with one of the popular male characters… but he never appeared again! And no love interests ever appeared! As much as I like a good side romance from time to time, it’s so refreshing to have a book that doesn’t put any focus on romance.
Not as suspenseful/ thrilling as I was hoping I’ve been on a big true crime binge recently, so I thought BALLAD would be the perfect read. As much as I loved the mystery element, it didn’t have the suspense that I wanted it to have. It’s not a thriller book, but mystery solving just needs some blood pumping close calls to keep you turning the pages.
In Summary BALLAD FOR A MAD GIRL was a well written loveozya novel that I really enjoyed. Not only was it super fast, it actually managed to surprise me with the ending to its mystery. Despite this, I still wish more time had been spent on the mystery and thriller aspects honestly. Instead it has more focus on family and friendships (which isn’t bad! I do enjoy those things too, but I wanted a proper suspenseful thriller)...more
INITIAL REACTION Very interesting read. I love so many of the characters!
5 THINGS ABOUT RENEGADES Really interesting superpowers When you think of superheroes you think of things like the DC and Marvel heroes. People with powers like super strength, flying, indestructibility, and telikinesis. Those exist in the world of RENEGADES but there is also so much more! The ability to force people to sleep, disperse into butterflies, and make your drawing come to life! These are so much more fascinating than the usual things.
More of a focus on the characters than action
Being a superhero book I was expecting a decent amount of action, but there wasn’t all that much? I suspect it was because a lot of time was spent introducing the characters, the world, and the conflict and that more fight scenes will come in sequels. That doesn’t mean it was boring though, I really enjoyed exploring the world. Also LOVE every single one of the characters, even the side characters! They’re very grey, very interesting. I got incredibly attached very early on.
What does it mean to be a hero? This series is going to explore a lot of moral questions and I’m excited. Specific questions it will focus on are things like what does it really mean to be a hero? What is truly good and evil? Nothing is clear cut on either side of the Renegade vs Anarchist line. It’s really interesting how the winners influence the history and what is “right” while painting the other side as the bad guys.
I ship ALL THE SHIPS One thing about getting attached to character early on, I SHIP ALL THE SHIPS. Well not that many. The only real couples I need to be happy together are Ruby and Oscar and Nova and Adrien (those two have the extra appeal of starcrossed lovers). They’re all very complicated and so super slow burn ships. Brace for feels I say.
I’m very intrigued by the potential future Obviously I can’t discuss this too much because spoilers but I cannot wait to see what direction this series takes. Especially after certain plot twists that have us questioning historical accuracy. I have no idea how it could possibly wrap up in a happy manner for everyone which is terrifying. It’ll be interesting that’s for sure.
In Summary While RENEGADES wasn’t as action packed as I had hoped, it’s still an interesting start to the series. The characters are complex and interesting, and I have no idea how they’re decisions and actions are going to influence the future plot. Definitely a series that is going to make us question what it really means to be a hero....more
5 THINGS ABOUT HEXENHAUS Three different stories, three different times This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
INITIAL REACTION [image]
5 THINGS ABOUT HEXENHAUS Three different stories, three different times HEXENHAUS features three different witch hunts in three different time periods, told in alternating chapters. These alternating chapters can be a bit worrying as sometimes you like one character more than the others and so some chapters become boring. In HEXENHAUS this was not the case, as I really enjoyed all the stories and the distinct voices. Victoria’s POV was very historical fiction-esque, Katharine’s was conversational (it reminded me a bit of CODE NAME VERITY in style), and Paisley’s was a more modern contemporary tone.
Strong, determined, loyal women All three main characters are incredibly loyal to their family. Their dedication to their loved ones and their determination to protect them no matter what horrors they go through is truly admirable.
Not all endings were happy I liked all the stories in HEXENHAUS, but there was one in particular that had a lasting impact on me. I won’t say which because spoilers. Basically for the entire time I expected it to go in a different direction, to end happily for the characters as most stories do. But it didn’t. Not at all. I’m still in shock and feel so bad for the character who was lovely. The people she loved really let her down, the poor girl.
All the endings felt abrupt Right from the beginning the pacing is decent and develops the stories well and this continues until the end. However, after the main climax events occur everything suddenly concludes rather quickly. I think I would have preferred a bit more time wrapping things up because it really felt like I blinked and everything was done. The fact I really wanted more of the character may also explain this feeling haha.
Veronica’s story was my favourite I did enjoy all the different storylines but if I had to choose, Veronica’s is my most preferred. It’s the oldest period of history and I just really liked the way it unravelled. Hers was also the most slow burn romance, and we all know how much I like those.
In Summary HEXENHAUS was a novel I quite enjoyed overall. I really admired the characters and as always, loved the historical aspects of the stories. It was well paced and the only complaint I had was the endings of that the stories felt rather sudden....more
5 THINGS ABOUT WAER Fantastic debut! There is a fear when you start a debutThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
INITIAL REACTION [image]
5 THINGS ABOUT WAER Fantastic debut! There is a fear when you start a debut novel that the writing will be subpar or struggle to pull off the premise of the novel due to inexperience. WAER did not have this problem. At all. Every element of the story was constructed well and it reads like some of my fantasy series I've been following for years. Nothing confused me and I was more than happy to sit there and enjoy the ride. It even managed to shock me a few times (which twists I really should have seen coming but didn't because I was too busy enjoying it). I don't think I can find one element to criticise!
Fascinating characters Oh my god the characters! I loved every single one of them so much, and I loved them a lot very quickly. The reasons I loved them were the same as usual: they're strong, determined, and grow so much over the course of the novel. Each character have their own struggles and drives and are incredibly unique, even the side characters. My favourite is Lycaea, which should be no surprise. She's angry, and troubled, and strong, and determined. The other main character, Lowell, was precious. Everyone needs to be more like Lowell, so kind and compassionate.
Dual Narration WAER is narrated in alternating first person POVs from Lowell and Lycaea, with the occasional third person part from someone called Kaebha. The voices of both characters were easy to read and what surprised me was that, despite the character names at the top of the chapter, it was so easy to tell the two apart. As soon as I switched to Lycaea's first part she developed a different voice in my head. Her voice was so distinct to Lowell's. I enjoyed them both immensely.
I put off study to finish it This book does not let you go once you start. I was enjoying it from the very beginning and with that fast pace I never wanted to put it down. Every reading opportunity to read was snagged so I could progress through this story and see more of the characters (this almost led to me leaving this book in a lecture theatre. The horror!) When I got to the last 100 pages when the action started I couldn't help but abandon study just to get to the end.
It's a standalone Yes, it's the rare fantasy standalone! And one that wraps up brilliantly in only 300 pages. Who even knew that was something that could be achieved? Every question is answered and you're not left hanging. The story is very self contained and delivers exactly the right amount of information you need to understand the world and character pasts, not too much or too little. It's perfectly balanced and very well constructed.
In Summary WAER is the first story I've read featuring werewolves in a long time and I loved it. Incredibly addictive and fast paced with some amazing characters. If Meg Caddy's future books are as good as this debut I may have to add a new favourite author to the list! ...more
I’m apologising in advance that this review is going to be vague and probably poorly written. IThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
I’m apologising in advance that this review is going to be vague and probably poorly written. I finished this book a month or two ago but have been too busy studying for exams (which I passed btw) to actually finish this review until now.
5 THINGS ABOUT THE SECRET SCIENCE OF MAGIC Loveozya Our fantastic Australian talent is so underrated in the overseas market. A few big hits that to make it are super successful, but there are so many true blue masterpieces that are missed by most people. I think THE SECRET SCIENCE OF MAGIC deserves to be one of the hits.
A contemporary that hits close to home While THE SECRET SCIENCE OF MAGIC has dual narration with chapters being shared by Josh and Sophia. Much of the focus is on Sophia though, and oh boy did I relate to a lot of the stuff she’s going through. I’m not a math nerd, but you bet I’m an overachiever about to graduate with no idea of where my future is going. A lot of high school and uni students will relate to these coming of age experiences.
Anxiety is a strong focus Another thing I haven’t seen all that much in YA in the past is a look at anxiety and other mental health issues. It’s a subject that is changing and getting more light shed on it thank goodness. Sophia experiences anxiety over her academic life, future, and social interactions, which are all incredibly relatable for me. She often has panic attacks which are written incredibly accurately. The spiralling thoughts and struggle to pull your brain out of the negative pattern can be so hard to articulate and describe to people who haven’t experienced it personally. I hope that it helps people who don’t have anxiety start to understand the struggles.
SMART GIRLS HELL YEAH SOPHIA’s BRAIN IS AMAZING! She might not have the best social skills, but academically her talents are phenomenal. I wish I had even half her math brain (it was my weakest subject haha). While a lot of girls in contemporary are the quiet, shy, smart type, Sophia’s genius is another level we don’t often see!
They’re so adorable together JOSH AND SOPHIA ARE SO ADORABLE AND HJKALHDSJKLFHSFJKLSD. So many cute courtships and moments. It’s beautiful. Everyone deserves a precious Josh. My memory is incredibly vague on all the things I enjoyed about this couple, but it was essentially everything about them.
In Summary As a studious individual with social anxiety, THE SECRET SCIENCE OF MAGIC had many elements that were very relatable for me. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend this contemporary. ...more
The writing captured me immediately Historical novels areThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
5 THINGS ABOUT THESE SHALLOW GRAVES
The writing captured me immediately Historical novels are generally slow, that’s just they way they’re usually written. While THESE SHALLOW GRAVES didn’t break the mould, the writing style really drew me in. It helped that Jennifer Donnelly was great at ending every chapter with a little cliffhanger and instilling me with a desperate need to know more. [image]
The characters had many interesting struggles What I like about historical novels are the character struggles that come with the settings. In 1890s New York there are still separations of class and women were heavily restricted with what they could do. With the inclusion of many characters from different walks of life we got to experience a little bit of all of the struggles, though the restrictions of women were mostly explored (seeing as our MC is a young, wealthy female who has many of notions of the world challenged in various ways throughout the novel). Jo with her ideals and aspirations was truly ahead of her time (she would have loved the freedom of modern times) and like to challenge society’s “rules”. [image] Even though I’m really happy with how the story wraps up, part of me would love to follow Jo through the rest of her life because I really think she’d become an incredibly inspirational figure.
Detailed mystery that is slowly uncovered The core mystery of THESE SHALLOW GRAVES is very rich with many layers. With the book being 450 pages, I was a little worried about how much could go down and what other stuff was just meaningless crap. But everything is balanced beautifully. It’s not the most thrilling, edge of your seat mystery out there but it’s still highly entertaining with lots of character development and a sweet romance on the side to keep us all interested. I actually quite enjoyed the romance and almost wish the characters had been distracted by it just a little bit more… (who ever thought I would say my OTP were too focused on what they actually needed to be doing and not making out) [image]
The story was a little predictable at times Me being the Awesome Skilled Genius that I am, I managed to predict the culprit from the start. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though because the satisfaction of being right is always nice. [image] While I predicted the big who-done-it, there were a lot of smaller plot twists and scenes that truly did surprise me! These little plot twists were developments I valued a lot more than the big culprit reveal.
Talk science to me GUYS, THERE’S ACCURATE SCIENCE/MEDICAL DESCRIPTIONS USED IN THIS NOVEL!! As a veterinary science student I really appreciated the use of the proper descriptions and science used to describe the bodies. Oscar became my favourite character because of all of this. [image] Normal people have no fear, it’s not intense science talk and Oscar does explain it all in a way that everyone can understand (in a way that is very comical and entertaining too).
In Summary THESE SHALLOW GRAVES was a nice, entertaining mystery and a lot more addictive than I first expected. I loved the historical setting and the characters. My favourite element of the entire novel though was the accurate science talk!
The build is slow Patience grasshopper. I was expecting THE DARK DAYS CLUB to have a slow build from seeing blogging friends reading it and from my experience of reading Alison Goodman's other book, EON. The time is taken to establish the world and characters at a slow, but not entirely unreasonable, pace. Little bits and pieces are sown into the story that make you question what is going on until the paranormal elements finally start to appear. Some people may not have the patience if they're not interested in some of the other aspects of the book. Fortunately for me I love historical fiction and there was something about THE DARK DAYS CLUB that I found intriguing and addictive despite the slow build.
Writing that sends you back in time Historical fiction has always been one of my favourite genres and the one thing that really makes a historical novel is the writing. If it's done right, not only will everything be described well and the characters have appropriate dialogue, but the writing will make you feel as if you've travelled back in time to the setting of the story. One advantage of this is that it makes it even easier to sink back into the story and world every time you sit down to read, and it's incredibly hard to pull away. Alison Goodman easily achieved this feat! [image]
I love the characters It wasn't until I was thinking about what I was going to put in this review that I realised how much I loved all of the characters, even the secondary ones. Okay some of them are arseholes (like her Uncle) and I don't really like those but they're still great characters! None of them are simple, one dimensional characters. Each has layers and history that shapes who they are and I look forward to uncovering more about them and their motivations.
The romance is the definition of slow burn GUYS I SHIP IT SO HARD. LIKE OMG. THIS SHIP. Barely anything even happens. Helen doesn't even begin to have feelings or thoughts about the love interest until page 304 but omg I ship it. The way the characters interacted and everything was just... perfect grounding for all my favourite ships honestly. I can't remember the last time I shipped something this hard on so little substance. I'm crossing my fingers that this will continue to develop slowly over the course of the series but give me a little bit more to base my ship on haha. [image] As you can probably tell from this slow burn comment, the romance does not interfere with the plot at any point whatsoever. It was marvellous. There is also a pretty decent love triangle in the book! What made the love triangle great was the history and emotions shared between the two potential love interests which still hasn't been fully explained ksafjskdf
I cannot wait for the sequel One of the main reasons I think THE DARK DAYS CLUB has a slow plot was because it's a set up book. It introduced and established the world, characters, and the big bad force that will be fought in the sequels. From the way it ended I expect there to be more paranormal elements, more suspense, and more of Helen kicking ass in the next novel, as well as a larger involvement of the big bad villain!
In Summary LADY HELEN AND THE DARK DAYS CLUB wasn't the fastest book in the world but boy did I have great fun reading it. Regency England is one of my favourite time periods to read about and I was enamoured by the writing and setting. The paranormal elements and the barely there romance I couldn't help but ship way too hard were added bonuses. I recommend LADY HELEN AND THE DARK DAYS CLUB to fans of historical fiction who have patience....more
Characters I could not deal with FRANKIE AND JOELY is a very character driven novel, andThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
Characters I could not deal with FRANKIE AND JOELY is a very character driven novel, and unfortunately the main characters were people I had issues connecting with. They were just frustrating in various ways. Some of their thoughts and actions I didn’t agree with, or they’d say things that grate my nerves. The only characters I liked entirely were minor side characters like Joely’s Aunt and Uncle. Frankie did grow on me, but the rest of them ugh.
A focus on friendship Books with good friendships can be few and far between so it’s always exciting to find a book that explores them. But it’s also scary because the friendships generally aren’t the focus of the contemporaries because it’s all sunshine and rainbows. There’s no room for development then. Franky and Joely’s friendship certainly isn’t easy.
What is communication? For apparent best friends they two girls have a lot of bitchy things to say about each other, and annoyances. It astounded me they had been friends as long as they had. They also didn’t communicate. Seriously if they just spoke up more often none of the annoying situations would have happened. But I supposed if they started off perfect there would have been no room for growth.
Love pentagon I wish this wasn’t an exaggeration, but it isn’t. FRANKIE AND JOELY has a love pentagon. And because I didn’t really connect to any of the characters I couldn’t ship any of the possible ships. I had no patience for any of them. Plus some of the characters were arseholes and didn’t deserve anyone. And some of the parts of the love dilemma fell way too quickly for some of the other members for my liking.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Another aspect of FRANKIE AND JOELY I liked was that it was set in rural Victoria! I haven’t read an Aussie novel in a while, and having been on a cattle farm just a few months ago it felt really authentic. The stinking summer heat, the slang, the culture was very familiar and relatable. It was nice to read. ...more
It’s been a while since I finished reading BIRDY so this review may not fully capture my originalThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
It’s been a while since I finished reading BIRDY so this review may not fully capture my original thoughts and feelings, but I can tell you BIRDY was one of the most deceiving books I’ve ever read. It started out as your usual high school contemporary but became progressively creepier.
The characters were what made the story for me. Which is sort of expected considering this is a character driven book hahahaha. The entire plot revolves around Frances and Bert’s friendship. Not much else goes on, which was boring at times because on the surface it seems like your typical best friends dynamic. The more you read the more messed up it becomes until you’re left seriously disturbed.
I was horrified by the ending. My jaw was on the ground for the entire final chapter. It turned everything I’d been made to believe on its head. And I loved being so shocked. It also was a great example of something that’s kind of spoilery so: (view spoiler)[Narrator bias!! This is a good book about how what one person says happens isn’t necessarily the truth. They make themselves believe it is true, or can omit what they want/phrase things anyway you want to paint a particular picture. It’s not until you start hearing things from many outside sources that you start to suspect what they say isn’t the entire truth (hide spoiler)]
Another aspect that made the story was the writing. It’s addictive. I started this late one night and got half way when I had to wake up early the next morning. I couldn’t put it down, even though not much was happening in the story at the end. The book isn’t very long either, so it felt like I was reading at lightning pace and that in itself is incredibly satisfying.
I went into BIRDY expecting one thing and ended up getting something completely different and incredibly horrifying. I recommend BIRDY to people looking for a short contemporary with a dark twist....more
LORALI was an alright book. I liked it, but it never entirely grabbed me. Uni didn’t help. ItThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
LORALI was an alright book. I liked it, but it never entirely grabbed me. Uni didn’t help. It took me an entire month to read LORALI because of exams and the lack of draw to the book. Don’t get me wrong, there were a number of elements I liked about LORALI but there were a lot of things I felt meh about.
I think my main problem was I never really cared about the characters. Rory was just… boring, underdeveloped. There was nothing that felt unique about his character. His only drive seemed to be daddy issues and caring about Lorali, who was slightly more interesting on account of her backstory and the whole mermaid thing. My favourite character was the sea. Yes, the ocean has POV chapters and these were by far the most entertaining. It was also an incredibly intriguing view point and something I wish had been explored further.
If I had to put a finger on the part of LORALI that irritated me the most it would be the romance. Because I didn’t care about the characters, when they got together and started being all sappy and “oh no I can’t leave the other ever” I couldn’t deal. It was so annoying. Especially since it felt like they had only known each other two maybe three days before they decided they loved each other halfway through the book. This type of romance is a pet peeve of mine. Its saving grace is that it wasn’t straight instalove, which I hate more.
The plot of LORALI was relatively slow paced. Lots of things were happening quickly, particularly in the last half, but I never felt the suspense. Even in the action scenes bits and pieces would be skipped and it didn’t flow as nicely as it could have. There isn’t even that much lore weighing the story down, which I would not have minded because I love LORALI. Fortunately the ending of LORALI featured a twist I never saw coming and that I really liked! If LORALI had settled into the generic ending I was afraid it was heading towards I would have been incredibly disappointed
In a world of mediocre YA mermaid books, LORALI is not the shiny gem we’re looking for. It is an enjoyable read, and the ending was not at all what expected, but it still fell flat for me. I couldn’t connect to the characters and didn’t care for the romance. Granted, this did take me forever to read because of uni, which put me in a negative mood anyway, so there is a high change you might enjoy this more than I did!...more
ADRIFT is a story of survival against incredible odds. Five teens stuck on a boat in the oceanThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
ADRIFT is a story of survival against incredible odds. Five teens stuck on a boat in the ocean for who knows how long with basically no supplies and variable wills to survive. Friendships are challenges, things get tense, people die. It’s not a fun time. These character face many challenges that would mess the best people up, and are sometimes forced to do things I don’t think I could ever do. Getting into the minds of people who are so desperate to survive was very interesting, and often chilling at times.
The writing of ADRIFT is the main thing that kept me turning the pages. Short sentence and minimal descriptions meant no time was wasted. Everything was focused on moving the plot along. It made for a quick, easy read that held my attention throughout the entire novel. The pace did slow down a little in the middle, which is not unexpected when people are stuck on a boat, but there were still enough events and gruesome encounters to keep me interested.
Because the writing is so fast and the characters were thrown into extreme situations so quickly, I never really became emotionally attached to the characters. I liked them all well enough, they were fairly interesting people. But because I didn’t have an emotional connection, I didn’t feel incredibly sad when people died. It was more of a ‘oh they’re dead how is everyone going to cope’. Which isn’t such a bad thing because the characters reactions were more interesting to me than their back stories.
ADRIFT is an incredibly fast, intense read. Survival pushes humans to the extreme, and it was chilling the lengths some characters would go to in order to survive. I recommend ADRIFT to people looking for something quick and thrilling to read....more
DUMPLIN’ is a book that’s been receiving a tonne of hype. Seriously, who doesn’t love this book?!This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
DUMPLIN’ is a book that’s been receiving a tonne of hype. Seriously, who doesn’t love this book?! Me. I didn’t love it. I liked it and can see why so many people rave about it, but I wasn’t blown away.
Why didn’t I have the same reading experience as most other people? For one thing contemporary isn’t my go to genre, I only read it occasionally for something different in between all my fantasy/sci fi. The other reason is that I don’t think I formed a very strong emotional connection to Willowdean. She’s a great character, very full of life and with a confidence I aspire to one day obtain, but I just never fully connected. It didn’t help that some things she did/said to her friends in the first half of the novel annoyed me. They were such selfish, horrible things, which she did learn from I do admit, but it didn’t help me like her more.
“All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on”
My favourite part DUMPLIN’ overall was the themes and messages it explored. Body image is a big issue all around the world and is guaranteed to affect everyone at some stage or another. Willowdean isn’t a small girl, but she is fairly comfortable in her body… until she isn’t. I loved how DUMPLIN’ showed everyone has insecurities and that’s okay. Your body doesn’t define you and you shouldn’t let your own self doubts or arsehole bullies to stop you achieving your personal goals and dreams. Don’t let them stop you from being the person you want to be. As a highly anxious person who worries about a lot of things (which sometimes includes body image but not always, because I’m too lazy to do anything about it) it was really inspiring and reassuring.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the romance wasn’t in your face all the time. It had it’s role, and Willowdean dates people and thinks about relationships as any normal teenager does, but it didn’t completely override the point of the story. As much as I would have love to have seen more scenes with Bo, the amount in this book was just right.
“News flash, Mom: a man will not cure my troubles”
While I didn’t love DUMPLIN’ as much as almost everyone else seems too, I really do appreciate this book and the message it delivers. I’d recommend this for any YA fan looking for some words of empowerment and reassurance. ...more
Every once in a while you come across a book that is really hard to explain in words for one This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
Every once in a while you come across a book that is really hard to explain in words for one reason or another. WE ALL LOOKED UP is one of those books for me, because I finished it three weeks ago and haven’t had time to pen my thoughts until now, and because reading it was sort of a surreal experience, for the first half anyway.
What was surreal about it? In the first half of WE ALL LOOKED UP I read so many concepts and ideas I had thought about and struggled with before. The characters are in their final year of high school, trying to figure out if what they’re doing now and what they want to do in the future is meaningful or just a waste of time. This exact situation was my life a little under three years ago, and those memories are still fresh because these questions I, and many other young adults, continue to ask myself. And I don’t even have that whole “an asteroid may hit the Earth in two months and obliterate two thirds of life” pressure.
The most fascinating part of WE ALL LOOKED UP was seeing how different types of people reacted to this potential impending doom. Can you imagine living with a deadline, waiting for the penultimate moment when it could all possible end? Would you keep doing what you’re doing or change your entire lifestyle? The four teens in WE ALL LOOKED UP came from different backgrounds and all reacted in different ways. Some of it was scary, some of it was weird, and some was probably what I would do. There was also a lot of substance abuse, gangs taking over streets, and violence and anarchy.
Another aspect of WE ALL LOOKED UP I loved was the writing. I already mentioned how Wallach manage to put words I never entirely realised other people thought and put them on a page. Well he didn’t just put the thoughts on paper, he also explained the concepts in the best way possible. Everything was constructed beautifully. So many quotes were marked in the first half of this novel. I have three pages filled in my reading notebook dedicated to this book.
Unfortunately WE ALL LOOKED UP didn’t maintain the incredibly high standard all the way to the final page. Things got a bit… meh at times in a second half, which sucks because I was so prepared to give this book 5 stars just for the first half. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely wasn’t on the same level. Most of the problem I had with the second half was the movement away from general human reactions and interesting things to annoying teenage drama.
Teen drama is not entirely unexpected, it is a contemporary after all, but I wasn’t expecting there to be such a focus on it in this book. The drama also revolves around a love quadrangle and romance I couldn’t really get behind. Then there’s the gang/anarchist aspect and sudden action and psychopathic actions of some side characters that lead to an unexpected character death. That stuff was interesting, but also felt kind of weird and sudden and out of place.
That teenage drama part of the plot was literally the only issue I had with WE ALL LOOKED UP. Everything else I loved, from the characters who were all relateable to the writing and themes this novel presented. This contemporary made me think about life and the future, and that’s what I love my contemporaries to do more than anything....more
I’ve been staring at my computer for an hour now trying to figure out how to start thisThis review originally appeared on Readers in Wonderland
I’ve been staring at my computer for an hour now trying to figure out how to start this review. All I can come up with is “hey, WHAT IF is the first NA I’ve read while being at uni.” But that’s not exactly helpful, is it. Well I guess maybe in the fact that NA is a genre I read only occasionally, and usually on holidays when I devour it in a day or two because I’m in a romance mood.
The lack of thoughts does not stem from the fact that WHAT IF was a meh or bad book. It was actually quite decent, I enjoyed reading it and it delivered more than I expected it to. I just can’t think of what I want to say or how to say it.
Just like the other NA I’ve read, WHAT IF has a big focus on romance. Not “let’s have sex all the time and ignore all our classes” romance, but fairly slow burn romance. Although it’s slow burn, the main character, Cal, (OMG a NA narrated by a male!) does spend a lot of time thinking about Nyelle who strangely resembles his childhood friend and crush Nicole. Too much time thinking about her if you ask me, it was starting to get a little creepy. Fortunately not stalkery or my opinion about this book may be very different. Still it would have been nice to know a little more about people who weren’t Nyelle/Nicole, or maybe his classes or something. (Granted, the novel does centre on the whole mystery surrounding Nyelle and whether she is or isn’t Nicole)
Some of things that wasn’t romance I really enjoyed were the childhood flashbacks between chapters and how the mystery surrounding Nyelle was constructed. The flashbacks themselves were cute and I loved seeing what the characters were like. They also made you wonder more and more what happened to make Nicole change so much, if Nyelle really is the same person? What happened? Clues to the whole mystery are dropped excruciatingly slowly as you read and it was so hard to wait patiently for answers. I just needed to know. The answer to the mystery had surprisingly more feels attached than expected (though not so much that I cried) and not the truth I guessed would be included when I first started reading.
WHAT IF was a pretty enjoyable read all round. There is a pretty heavy focus on the romance, but there’s also an interesting mystery that’s well woven with an answer I didn’t guess right from the start. WHAT IF is a novel I’d recommend to people looking for a New Adult romance with interesting characters and not excessive/explicit adult content (if that type of thing turns you off books)....more
I was a bit wary going into NEWT’S EMERALD because I didn’t know what theThe full review (with added gifs!) can be read on Readers in Wonderland
I was a bit wary going into NEWT’S EMERALD because I didn’t know what the story was going to give me. On the one hand Garth Nix is a well loved author by many people and NEWT’S EMERALD is a historical fantasy with my favourite trope (girl disguised as boy). But on the other hand I’d heard some not so great things from bloggers I trusted. Fortunately for me I ended up having a lot of fun with this book!
NEWT’S EMERALD had a lot of elements that I thought worked well together and enjoyed. It was incredibly easy to immerse myself in the world of my story repeatedly, and the plot was moving fast enough that I wanted to read at every opportunity and find out how the mystery would develop or what would go wrong next. I honestly wasn’t suspecting it to be as suspenseful as it was at times, there were actually a few moments that surprised me. The writing was also humorous in a way that appealed to the ridiculous side of my personality. I cackled at some of the lines in this books.
The only complaint I have is that in the last part of the book everything occurred incredibly quickly. And by everything I mean the romance and main mystery plot. I wouldn’t say it was rushed but it wrapped up a lot easier than I expected it to, and I honestly would have loved to see a massive magic show down, and more of the magic throughout the novel in general.
The romance it’s relatively slow burn (until that end section) and I really liked the couple. They bicker and banter and it’s marvellous. They’re both interesting characters in their own right. They just had one irritating issue that caused many problems in the book: COMMUNICATION. We’re lucky that sometimes this lack of communication made for humorous moments as well as frustrating times.
NEWT’S EMERALD was a nice short book and a blast to read, despite the small issues I had with a few plot elements and things. I recommend NEWT’S EMERALD to people looking for a nice, easy historical fantasy with a side of romance....more
DREAMFIRE was such an interesting book to read. I mean, it’s about Dreamwalkers, people who enterThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
DREAMFIRE was such an interesting book to read. I mean, it’s about Dreamwalkers, people who enter nightmares and help resolve them. Add in some villains and character conflicts to the dream lore and you have a nice little novel there. It was the perfect thing to keep me entertained while I had no internet for a few days (the struggles).
The plot of DREAMFIRE is quite slow to build. Most of the first half of the novel is introducing you to the hundreds of characters (there are so many and they all have strange names), the dreamwalker society, and the dream lore itself. We learnt a lot of things as Will, the new apprentice, did which was probably the best way to do it because there was a lot of info to digest. At the same time, hints are dropped about past character conflicts and the new threat to the dream world of the main plot. The information overload did feel a little overwhelming at first, but as we moved through into the greater plot and connections started being made, DREAMFIRE became very interesting (and there were some great little twists/plot developments I didn’t expect). Speed does pick up at the end, but overall DREAMFIRE isn’t an action packed, fast paced novel.
Being slow paced usually means character driven in my head. Looking back after finishing, I can see all the character development that went on, but when I was reading it didn’t feel like much was happening with them. Sure, they had their past drama to deal with, but all the emotions that came with that sometimes seemed extreme and came out at random places. It didn’t help that none of the characters really intrigued me. Aside from dreamwalking they were pretty boring. The exception being Haley who is fascinating for spoilery reasons.
The villains are another exception to the boring characters. They are so, so intriguing and I’m sad more time wasn’t developing them. Though there are hints that we haven’t seen the last of them. They have the potential to be some of the creepiest, most villainous villains I’ve ever read in fiction and I am excited. Especially after that epilogue.
Flat characters meant I never really felt the tension or appeal of the slow burn romance, though some of the late scenes near the end were nice. Not a lot of time is spent on the romance either, plot and world building are the main focus points of DREAMFIRE. And there was a lot of emotional baggage the characters had to deal with before they were even ready to consider romance so I’m glad it isn’t a massive part of DREAMFIRE.
DREAMFIRE never blew me away, but is was an enjoyable read. (I read it after a five star read. It had a lot to live up to) I loved the dream lore and the walking through nightmares, and the villains who could have been developed more and played bigger roles in the plot of this first book, which really just set a lot of things up for the sequels. The only thing that really let me down was that most of the characters were meh, though they did start to show more personality as the story moved on. I would like to read the rest of the sequels when they come out because I have the feeling everything is going to get bigger and better from here. I’d recommend DREAMFIRE to people looking for an interesting new YA paranormal read that won’t emotionally traumatize you....more
SOUNDLESS is only 250 pages or so, which makes for a very quick read with a simple, straightforward plot. The short duration means that not a lot is developed or explored beyond what is important to the central plot (which isn't necessarily a bad things). The story also wraps up really well for a fantasy standalone! (Not at all like those "standalones" with surprise second books a few weeks after release).
Nice introduction to high fantasy
Short duration and not having everything developed means that SOUNDLESS isn't as intense as a lot of high fantasy can be. This wasn't so great for a hardcore high fantasy fan like myself (I like my worlds, characters, plots and subplots super rich and detailed with multiple layers) but may be great for someone that struggles with the number of elements in your typical high fantasy. It's also be a nice gateway book because of this.
The concept is interesting
The deaf village was the main reason I wanted to read this book (along with the promise of Chinese folklore). How was Richelle Mead going to explain things without sound? How does a character who has never heard anything before describe new sounds? I was actually surprised by the results. It was weird knowing the word for an adjective that Fae had no idea about.
I was scared I wasn't going to like it at first
I struggled with the first few chapters of SOUNDLESS, I'm not going to lie. The main reason was the writing. It just wasn't meshing with me during the first few chapters. There was a lot of telling going on (and I was getting frustrated because SHOW ME THINGS) and I'm not sure if it was grating on me because I was adjusting to the writing style or what. It is written in the same style as Vampire Academy & Bloodlines, which works really well for for paranormal romance but maybe not so much for high fantasy? In any case around the time Fei discovered sound was when I got more absorbed into the story and actually started to enjoy it.
There could have been more Chinese folklore elements
For a book that says it's inspired by Chinese folklore on the summary there really wasn't that much. I mean, the names, a few of the building designs, etc, etc do give the impression of an Asian culture, but really they could have just been any random fantasy world too. There is one super obvious folklore thing, but that doesn't appear until the VERY END and is mentioned only a few times throughout. I would have loved to have seen more Ancient Chinese customs, fears, mythology, and creatures make appearances.
In summary I was really excited for SOUNDLESS and unfortunately it didn't meet my expectations of a brilliant high fantasy heavily inspired Chinese folkore. It was a nice short read that may be great for introducing new readers to the high fantasy genre, but it wasn't as developed as some of the more hardcore/epic stuff I prefer to read....more
It was only a couple of years ago when the dystopian trend was in full swing. We got some goodThis review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland
It was only a couple of years ago when the dystopian trend was in full swing. We got some good books out of it, but we also got some carbon copies. A scaffolding arose and it started to feel like every book was the same. There’d be a main character who would lead a rebellion against a bad government in a post apocalyptic/experiment world where the general populace was broken up into classes. UNWANTED is another YA dystopian, but I’m glad to say it doesn’t follow the generic mould too closely! Also it’s by an Australian author, has basically no romance, and is a standalone (at least, I think it’s a standalone. Book Depository seems to think otherwise)
UNWANTED follows Bea, a girl training to be a sniper. Not that she gets to do much shooting in this. Aside from the first chapter she doesn’t get much combat time. Most of the novel is spent following Bea, and sometimes one or two other characters, as she uncovers the truth behind the city she lives in and does her best to save various members of her family from the bad situations they end up in. She doesn’t even properly join the rebellion, she’s more blackmailed into it.
The world of UNWANTED is quite interesting. There is the standard city surrounded by a wall, but that’s not the cool part. What I loved was the whole ink thing. Tattoos/ink play a major role in this world. All adults have one once they graduate from stalk school or dread (army) school, and the amount and type of ink you have signifies your rank and role in the system. And it’s not just a tattoo, it’s ink that moves and helps express things such as emotions which leads me to my next point: showing vs telling.
The thing I enjoyed most about UNWANTED was how Holohan built the world. You know how we always ask for more showing not telling? Well Holohan’s mastered that technique. It was very rare that we’d get an info dump unless one character was explaining something directly to another. Most of the time she’d build the world by describing the surroundings and character’s actions. I should have marked a page to quote as an example. One way I can explain this was when Holohan described the appearance of a billboard advert to show how the government was actively encouraging girls to become Stalks (surrogate mothers for embryos provided by the council). She describe the cheery background, the happy model, the slogan but never outright stated that the girls were coerced into the career. The writing really was great. Unfortunately some other parts of the novel have me feeling meh about it, as much as I enjoyed it.
Overall the plot of UNWANTED didn’t have much action. There was a bit at the start and the end (which was more brutal on the characters than I was expecting and didn’t last long enough) and the occassional close call as Bea went around helping rescue people. Other than that there wasn’t much. And I’m okay with that because the world was what I was more interested in anyway, plus it took me in a direction I wasn’t entirely expecting. Even though the society has a dystopian sounding set up, there’s a sci fi element to it: the Erebii. These creatures and their technology were so interesting, would have loved for them to be fleshed out more.
My only real complaint aside from the lack of action when it comes to the UNWANTED are that I would have liked more character development. I never really grew emotionally attached and if I had, I think I may have cried at the ending because there were some surprise deaths then. It doesn’t help that the book is only short. It also would have been nice to see a bit more of the action at the end and maybe an epilogue just so we could see what happened to the characters because it ends almost mid scene.
UNWANTED is a dystopian novel I think a lot of people have been asking for: a standalone dystopian with basically no romance. The world was very interesting and superbly developed. I loved the way the author wove the history and world building into the descriptions and didn’t rely on info dumps, instead showing us how the world worked. The plot also surprised me, taking itself in a direction I wasn’t really expecting. Ultimately the only reason this didn’t get a really high rating from me was because I would have liked a bit more action and I never really formed an emotional attachment to the characters....more
Action packed conclusion. THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT sets a cracking pace right5 Things about THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT as seen first on Readers in Wonderland
Action packed conclusion. THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT sets a cracking pace right from page one that doesn’t let you go until the very end. This fast pace hit me at the perfect time and I loved all the action, plot twists, and suspense it brought with it. The two main characters being a con artist and hacker certainly helped keep my attention haha
Sassy sarcasm & chemistry. As far as narrating characters in this series go, I think Sofia and Gideon are my favourite. Gideon is a snarky, sarcastic little shit, the type of character I find highly entertaining. Sofia is a con artist and knows exactly what to say and how to act to wrap everyone around her little finger (I wish I had such skills). They have so much banter together and seem to like dragging each other through some dire and intense situations. The end result of their interactions is a lot of tension and some great character development I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Time for reunions. Rejoice, for all our old favourites from the previous novel have significant page time in THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT! Tarver and Lilac were elements I missed in THIS SHATTERED WORLD, and even though they made appearances I didn’t think it was enough. In THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT those two, along with Jubilee and Flynn, have significant roles in the story. It was also super interesting to see how Gideon and Sofia related to the other characters.
Finally answers. I would be a little concerned if THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT didn’t wrap things up considering it’s the final book in the series. Finally we learn more about what the whispers are, what they want, and why they’ve been wreaking havoc over the series. It’s been hinted at in previous novels but was never entirely clear until now. And the truth is actually kind of sad. It gave me feels.
I wish I’d reread the other books. My biggest regret when it comes to THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT is not rereading THESE BROKEN STARS and THIS SHATTERED WORLD beforehand. It’s not a necessary step, you should still be able to get by without rereading. All major connections are refreshed for you. I had just forgotten a lot of little details and connections that ended up being somewhat important in this final novel and I hate not remembering all the little details.
To summarise: THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT has left me with the usual end of series hangover. It wrapped up everything and delivered a thrilling, action packed story with great narrating characters....more
Girl's kicking ass in extreme sports Girls competing in extreme sports is something I only just realised I haven't really read before, aside from books I got into way back at the start of high school (and they were mainly jockeys and other horse books). REV GIRL showed the glorious, the messy, and the competitive sides of dirt bike racing, something I've never done or seen. It was interesting seeing just how the sport was run, what was involved, etc. The scenes that revolved around racing were some of my favourite parts of the book and I wish there was a little more. [image]
It's based on the author's real experiences Leigh Hutton has actually competed in the races/locations Clover did. This added an authentic element to the racing scenes. She knew what she was talking about and exactly how to describe the racing scenes.
Ugh, high school drama never liked being in high school drama and I don't enjoy reading about high school drama. It's the reason I stay away from most contemporaries nowadays. There was more high school drama in REV GIRL than I originally expected and it did get on my nerves at times. Fortunately as time went on and Clover grew she started to deal with things really well and I was proud. In the beginning she was overreacting to various things, but I guess that's teenagers sometimes. [image]
I was worried about the romance When the romance started in REV GIRL I was a bit iffy about it. There was just something about Dallas I didn't trust. He was a nice enough guy for the most part, but then there were times he was an arse and starting to create a bit of a toxic relationship. Then stuff happened, Clover made hard decisions, and it ended in a completely different place than most contemporaries would have. The inclusion of the romance and how it unfolded was important to Clover's growth as a character.
Clover is an inspiring character Clover was an incredibly relatable and inspiring character. Her reactions to drama did get on my nerves in the beginning, but she grew on me. Clover is very strong and sure of herself, but she's not made of steel. Many of the fears and doubts she struggles with are things I battle in my own life, and she has many vulnerable moments. She gets cocky, she fails, but every time she falls she gets back up and works through the problem, a quality I really admire. [image]
In summary Despite the high school drama that got on my nerves, REV GIRL has left me feeling incredibly empowered. Reading about Clover, a girl who I found easily relatable, dominating her own extreme sport made me want to run out there and conquer my own fears and doubts. She was such an inspiring character and the message in REV GIRL has hit me at the right time. It really delivers a message every girl needs to hear....more
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES is a book about mental illness, suicide, love, and grief and it will make This review first appeared at Readers in Wonderland
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES is a book about mental illness, suicide, love, and grief and it will make you cry.
I knew I was going to cry going in. How could a book with a summary like this not be sad? What I didn't expect was to become so attached to Finch and Violet, to fall so in love with their story, that I'd cry so hard for the last 20% that I couldn't read the pages properly. Seriously, I was a mess.
Trying to write anything about this book after having literally just finished it is really hard because each time I go to start a new sentence I just tear up again. It's so bittersweet. And after reading the author's note... Thank you, Jennifer Niven, for bringing such an important and beautiful story to the world of YA.
What was it about ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES that had such a profound effect on me? Everything is the easy answer. But we have to go more in depth than that.
First up are our main characters. Finch is creative and different and unique and fun. He was a tad hard for me to relate to, simply because my brain is no where near as creative as his was, though his POV was definitely great to read. All his little quirks and stuff are amazing and he seems so carefree and full of life. But as the novel progresses you realise he is hiding more under the surface than you originally thought... Violet is almost the opposite. After losing her sister, she's in a dark place in the beginning of the story. Then she meets Finch and he shows her how to live, how to be grateful, and how to heal. Violet was a character I could relate to well. A blogger (basically), a writer, a good student. Some of her past experiences and struggles were similar to events I've gone through myself.
The romance was another element that made me fall in love with this story. From the moment the characters meet there is definitely an attraction there. Over time, as they travel and learn more about each other, the romance slowly develops. Everything about it was structured perfectly, just the way I love my romances. I shipped Finch and Violet before I even started reading and as far as I'm concerned I want more of them together. Let me just read about them all day every day and squeal and cry and make ridiculous fangirling noises as I giddily roll all over my bed.
The final thing I want ramble on about is the writing. Most of the book alternates between Violet and Finch's POVs. I felt that each was sufficiently different that you didn't need the names at the start of the chapters to tell who was talking. Each has their own distinctive voice. And what beautiful voices they are. It was so easy to lose myself in the words. Hours would pass and I probably would have forgotten to eat if Mum didn't call me out for dinner. I was so engrossed. It was a great challenge to put the book away and sleep.
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES is a book I can see getting a lot of comparisons to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. Yes it's a story about love and death and life, but to be honest, ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES affected me more. I cried more in ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES than I ever did in TFIOS for various reasons. I loved the writing more in ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, to me it felt more real. Everything about it was marvelous and I can't put into words the emotion it made me feel. I urge you all to pick up ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES... and have a box of tissues at the ready.
Now I'm off to find something light and happy to read....more
I think I might have a little bit of a book hangover right now. I finished THE SACRED LIESThis review was originally posted at Readers in Wonderland
I think I might have a little bit of a book hangover right now. I finished THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY last night and it was as fantastic as I was hoping. The only way I could have loved it more was if I got the chance to read it in one sitting instead of spread over three weeks like uni forced me to.
My piece of advice for anyone wanting to pick up MINNOW BLY: read it on a Friday night or something when you don’t have to leave the house for a day or two. It grips you quickly and you won’t want to stop until you have all the answers. The combination of the good writing and mystery of what the hell happened to Minnow?!?!?! is what makes MINNOW BLY such an addictive read, and it’s only aided by interesting characters and themes.
The story unfolds through Minnows time in juvie and a series of flashbacks that slowly reveal the events that lead to the chilling opening scene. You don’t get answers until the very end, and it was not what I was expecting at all, but the pacing is good enough and the writing flows so well that you hardly notice. Tidbits are dropped at the perfect places to turn what you thought you knew on its head. There were many times I had to stop and close the book for a second because there’d be a little twist that completely changed where I thought the mystery was going.
Minnow herself is one of the things you can’t help but second guess. She’s a bit of an unreliable narrator. I was never entirely sure if I could trust what she said or if she was lying. I thought I had her figured out but then she’d say something that made me question if she was as innocent as she said she was. Then there’s the lack of hands complication which made me wonder if she really could have done what I thought she did because theoretically it wasn’t possible.
Minnow wasn’t the only morally grey character. There were many people who I questioned. People who did horrible things because they thought it was the right, because they thought it was justice, etc. It was a very interesting theme throughout and definitely makes you think.
I have to say the Kevinian cult was one of the most fascinating aspects. I love learning about different religions and their belief systems. Getting in the heads of the people, slowly learning about the theory behind their beliefs practices. The Kevinians were brutal, very old school religion (think early Christian, but quite possibly even more violent) and strict in their ways. Some of the things they did as ‘punishment’ were horrifying. It was all Minnow knew for most of her life, and while we learned about the Kevinians she was learning about all the different possible belief systems and explanations and science, things we assume everyone knows nowadays.
THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY is a book I think everyone should read at least once. Not only is it a great mystery, but it contains some very interesting themes and discussions about religion, justice, and what is right and wrong. It would be the perfect book to invoke some discussion among friends. It’s definitely one of the most thought provoking books I’ve read so far this year....more