Book reviews

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Rating: 3.4/5

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mystery

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publish Date: May 13th 2014

Length (Kindle edition): 225 Pages

 

Book synopsis:

A 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.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

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

 

My review:

Before I begin, I must say, that though I was disappointed in this book, it was a record for me, completing it in one three-or-so-hour-long sitting! I have never finished a book so quickly, so it was obviously compelling if nothing else. I’m not going to spoil anything, because, as the synopsis suggests, everyone is expected to “go in blind”. I just don’t really understand why.

This is the favourite book of one of my dear friends, and it’s up there on another one’s list. My friend (who holds this book in higher regard than I can fathom) more than encouraged me to read this, so eventually I picked it up and did. The first few pages really hooked me in. I really was intrigued.

Then it got worse. And better.

Suffice to say, this book confused me more than the climate of the area in which I live.

The *boyfriend* (as I so affectionately name them) if you can even call him that… was extremely weird, in my humble opinion. I will wave my white flag here and say, yes, I know this wasn’t a romance but why include the strange yes/no/yes/no of those two characters? Sure, it probably added to the plot in some way but I read this a few weeks ago so blame my not remembering possibly important details on that, please. And perhaps weird is the wrong word. More… unusual, maybe. he had strange tendencies and ways of behaving, shall we say. I didn’t understand him in the slightest, to say the least.

There were a number of things I liked about this book! Don’t get me wrong. The writing was honestly beautiful. It was set out interestingly (yes, we can all appreciate nice formatting, can we not?) and good grief there’s one hell of a plot twist that I never saw coming.

HOWEVER! I just do. Not. Understand. Feel free to message me to enlighten me. Free me from my misunderstanding, but I thought the ending was horrible, and not in that good/horrible way most bookworms learn to love! I’m seriously finding it so hard not to spoil anything here.

Ok. I would encourage you to read this book. Really. Just to see if it messes with your head as much as it messes with mine! It has raving reviews from nearly every book reviewer/worm I follow or know personally, and I feel I missed something crucial. Here I am explaining why I didn’t like it but also suggesting you read it? Who knows. I’m lost.

If you read on beware there is a spoiler here!

Stop now if you don’t want this to be spoiled for you!

 

There are dogs. Dogs are my weakness. Something terrible happens to said dogs, and this is NOT OKAY.

See now I’m doubting. I think I take everything back. I think it might be amazing. But I DON’T KNOW! We’ll just leave it at this healthy approximately 3 star rating and my confusion can fester.

Favourite quote: There is not even a Scrabble word for how bad I feel.

Did I cry: I did. But I doubt it was at the point when most people did.

 

 

 

 

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Book reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia

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Find this photo and similar ones on my Instagram account: @bookedinbookblog

Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Publication Date: October 12th 2010

Length (hardcover): 503 pages

 

 

Book synopsis:

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

 My Spoiler-free review!

After finishing Beautiful Creatures at some ungodly hour, I then (of course) proceeded to read the sequel; Beautiful Darkness. Who knows what hour I read until. It was worth it. I also must have read this book in a trillion geographical locations, because I was travelling back to New Zealand from Australia.

This book began like most sequels, reminding me of things I already knew in case I read the first book a couple of moon cycles ago. But, no – I’d just swiped to the next book. That is not a criticism. It is a very helpful thing if there was a time gap! Ethan was recapping the quaint town of Gatlin, mentioning the many old ladies (as you do). But that was sort of just a prologue! The first *proper* chapter ripped my heart out. Yep – I started crying a few minutes in. And! My tears became so much more meaningful when I came to the end of this book! It was so poignant and written so beautifully, I truly felt like I could relate even though I’ve never experienced anything remotely similar. A new character was introduced in this book, and though I was sceptical of her in the beginning, I soon grew to love her. I love how she was incorporated and made into some sort of a complication.

An interesting note is that I had no idea how far through the book I was, because the eBook had the whole series. Example: you are 34% through the entire series. How far through the book am I? Do I times this number by four? Regardless, it was kind of nice “flying blind.” Even though it mostly made me mad. Obviously I could tell when it was drawing to a close, and boy, was the close interesting! The one thing I will say disappointed me a little was the actual ending, as in, the last lines, we pretty much verbatim the previous book’s, plus one (read them and you’ll know what I mean 🙂 ) It did end in a way I was happy with, though, overall. Really happy with.

I’m taking a break from Beautiful Creatures for a little while, mainly to get through some of my TBR! I would highly recommend this book, and the one before it, of course.

Did I cry? All. The. Time.

Favourite quote: “It’s good to see you, Mr Wate.”

Honourable mention: “Still, I opened the screen door and stuck a red sticker on Lucille’s head.”

Book reviews · Uncategorized

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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Rating: 4.9/5 stars

Genre: contemporary/romance

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 14th 2012

Length (hardcover): 394 Pages

Book Synopsis:

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

My Review:

I have quite a story for how I came across this book! I had found it on Goodreads approximately 36781 times, thought, ‘Perfect!’ and searched for it on the Kindle store, only to find there is only a Spanish version?! Have I not looked hard enough? So, I left it to collect dust in my to-read list. Until! One day, in one of my many favourite bookstores, there it was! My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I grabbed it, of course. Beautiful cover, too.

So! I fell in love with this book a few pages in. I love the circumstances under which the “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” (as I affectionately name them) meet. *Spoilers ahead!* They’ve lived next door to each other for many years, Samantha (our “girlfriend) secretly spies on the Garretts (our “boyfriend’s” sizeable and extremely lovable family), out of sheer curiosity and no, I don’t think it’s creepy! Then, one night, Jase (“boyfriend”) just hops up there onto her balcony. The beginning begun!

The relationship between the two of them is adorable. It’s raw. So real! The plot twist in this book is creative. I did not see it coming, and I’m pretty sure I audibly gasped upon reading it, and earned myself some sideways glances from unsuspecting strangers. The internal struggle that Samantha faces is incredibly well-written. She fits right in with Jase’s family, but he’s a secret from hers. Too often I feel like adult authors forget what it was like to be a teenager. I know; we don’t have to pay bills or look after tiny humans but everything is relative! Huntley Fitzpatrick seems to understand. I think she portrays Samantha, Jase, and all of the other teenagers perfectly. And the setting! So vivid! I could hear the wind. And the young children (namely George)? How adorable they are? And hilarious? Oh, if only all children were like the Garretts. I’m going to be honest here; kids aren’t really my cup of tea in real life, but I always seem to ADORE them in books. You?

Read this book. Please. Scour bookstores across the globe. Hopefully you can find a copy. Hey, maybe you speak Spanish? That works. Or you could buy it online. That works too.

Favourite quote:

“You have to kiss me,” I find myself saying.

“Yeah.” He leans closer. “I do.”

Did I cry? Definitely.

 

Book reviews

Review: Beautiful Creatures

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Rating: 5/5 stars!

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Publish Date: January 8, 2013

Length (kindle edition): 590 pages

Book Synopsis: 

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

My Review:

I discovered this book by discovering the movie trailer! I was searching for a movie to watch, and stumbled upon Beautiful Creatures. The trailer was extremely intriguing and dramatic, though I have to say the main thing that caught my attention was the Florence and the Machine song playing throughout it! Like all good bookworms, I would never watch the movie first, so I added it to my extensive ‘To Read’ list, and didn’t watch the movie (yet).

When the time came for me to read this book, I was excited. On Goodreads, it has a lot of popularity, and I’d heard of it before, but never spoken to anyone who had read it. My excitement was suitable. I loved this book.

One of the things I liked most about Beautiful Creatures was the fact that it was written from the perspective of the “boyfriend” rather than the “girlfriend,” so to speak, because it gives the book an interesting dynamic that isn’t all that common. How many of your favourite YA romance novels are written in the girl’s perspective or both the girl’s and the boy’s?

Ethan (the narrator) is an extremely likeable character. He is neither popular nor unpopular, he has realistic views on life, and an interesting taste in literature. Lena (the “girlfriend”) is probably one of my favourite characters of all time. She is very different to characters she could fall into the same category with. She is the perfect balance of strong and insecure. Her words (spoken and unspoken!) are well thought-out, especially her writing. I just adored the communication between her and Ethan. Also! Robert Frost is one of her favourite poets, just as he is one of mine! Amma and Uncle Mason are also characters I love. A lot. The series is also set in the South, which is a nice change from suburbia, where a lot of books I’ve been reading lately are set.

I was slightly irritated by the stereotypical, ‘It’s too dangerous for you. I love you but it’s not safe for you so I’m breaking up with you.’ Moment, but it was over relatively quickly and I suppose that it was somewhat necessary for the development of the plot. Other than that, there are very few faults I can name for Beautiful Creatures.

 So, you should definitely read this book. I just started Beautiful Darkness, the next book in the series, and I’m hoping it’s equally as good as its predecessor!  

Favourite Quote (there are so many I don’t know how I chose one): “She was wearing a purple T-shirt, with a skinny black dress over it that made you remember how much of a girl she was, and trashed black boots that made you forget.”

Did I cry? Yes. Frequently and profusely.

Book reviews

Review: The Promise of Amazing

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The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

Rating: 3.8/5 stars 

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

Publisher: Baltzer + Bray

Publish Date: December 31st 2013

Length (kindle edition): 320 Pages

Book Synopsis:

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

My Review:

One of my friends was reading this book, and the more it kept popping up when she’d take it out of her bag the more curious I was. Eventually curiosity overtook me, so I downloaded it onto my kindle, and began reading.

The Promise of Amazing is a good book. It’s well written, with plenty of relatable quirks, including a Coldplay mention (high five, Robin Constantine!), the characters are likeable, with Wren being a character you can easily see similarities to. However, I feel like the plot was rushed. I know, I know, a vast majority of YA romance novels involve a whirlwind romance, and I’m not knocking that! A lot of the time, I love it. It’s part of the charm. But it just doesn’t seem to work for me in this novel. (Spoiler ahead!) And it seems to me like after finding out that Grayson is a (retired, perhaps?) criminal, working in what can only be described as a gang of petty thieves, she is extremely upset and leaves him… for a tiny little while… and then everything is okay! He was stealing things with his friends so that they could party in Amsterdam! i.e. not even for some deep-rooted good cause! Plot issues aside, The Promise of Amazing is a lovely, feel-good YA book, not to mention a relatively quick one to read. So, apart from the too-swift moving nature of this book and the protagonist’s unrealistic quota for easy forgiveness, this is a good book, and I would recommend you read it.

Favourite quote: “She stood out against the colourless day, improbable and beautiful. A wildflower in winter sprung up from a crack in the concrete.”

Did I cry? Maybe a little bit? Just slightly teary-eyed, perhaps?