3.75-4 / 5 stars
I feel like it is impossible to review this book without mentioning the drama that erupted over it about a year ago (not sure exactly when). I also do not remember WHO started it, or WHY they started it for that matter.
Then hundreds of people started jumping on the band wagon by condemning this book without even reading it (gasp!! I know, I know...) and it just became a whole big mess - which frankly is probably the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen a community of readers and intellectuals do. Embarrassing! If you want to hate on the book just because somebody else told you to - then maybe you shouldn't be reading books at all. Because books are for people who have their own opinions.
I've also seen so many people pull quotes out of the contest and use them to "prove" their negative points about the book. That's just messed up, and you know it.
The book was labeled racist, ableist and some other vile things. But I am here to laugh into all of those people's faces - because it's not. I do see how it could be mistakenly viewed as one (if one wants to skew the reality and see only what they want to see), but there is a big difference between a book being racist and a book being set in a racist, close minded, prejudiced world. Just because the book talks about those things (and goodness those things NEED to be talked about!) doesn't mean that the book IS those things. How somebody couldn't make that distinction is beyond me, but I digress - let's talk about the actual book!
I've seen The Black Witch being compared to Harry Potter and I definitely see why. The magic school setting, the pure bloods vs. everybody else, the white wand and many other things are definitely similar. The lessons that those books are trying to teach are very similar too - prejudice, choosing your own friends, the magic community wanting to be pure blooded and so on.
I could also definitely see why so many people gave up on the book very early on - the society in which Elloren finds herself is beyond toxic. Yes, the society is racist! Yes, it is prejudiced! Yes, it is absolutely horrid and cruel and mockingly pure blooded. It's like being in a company of many Hitlers and many Malfoys - at all times. But it is also shockingly, and sadly, similar to the society we now live in.
Also, if you thought that Harry Potter got bullied a lot - wait till you read this. Elloren gets bullied on another level. It's quite painful.
Elloren comes from a very sheltered village, where she lived a beyond sheltered life with her gentle uncle, who hid a lot of things from her. Then she finds herself in a world of which she knows nothing, except things that her exceptionally cruel aunt tells her. It takes Elloren a long time to realize what really is going on. It takes her a long time to see the lies she's been fed, to see the truth beyond all of those shimmering facades. She makes many mistakes, and many bad decisions - but her journey is a beautiful one. Elloren is flawed, Elloren is confused and scared, but despite all of that she denies the life of privileges because the price is not what she wants to pay, and finds her own way to the truth.
I gave the book 3.75-4 (I really couldn't decide) stars because I didn't realize it was going to be set in a magical school setting. While I do enjoy those, I also think that they are a bit overused and just don't do much for me. Sure, it was fun in Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but sometimes enough is enough. I wanted something more grown up (I know this is ya, but still). There was also way too much "glaring" from a certain character for me - he literally "glared" at her about 100 times, and that just gets old, people.
But there were so many things that I loved! For example, when Elloren finds out about how her clothes are made - this fantasy book actually talked about ethical fashion! I literally whooped with happiness because I was so pleased. Ethical fashion is very important to me - fair wages, fair working environment, no child labor - I refuse to shop at the malls and "fast fashion stores" such as forever21, because of how horrid they actually are. If you don't know the horrors of fast fashion please google it - you will never look at your clothes the same ever again. So to have it talked about in a fantasy book was amazing - more people need to be aware what they are supporting with their money.
Animal abuse, interracial marriage, underage marriage, arranged marriage, unfair working wages, favoritism, corrupted politicians - this book has so much to say, and it saddens me that so many people chose not to listen. There was also a heartbreaking example of how parents corrupt their children with their prejudiced views.
There was a lot of girl power in this book, which I loved - my favorite side character was Diana - a super strong, confident girl who didn't give a flying shit about what anybody else thought. Every scene in which she was present was hilarious. I definitely need more Diana in my life, or to be more like Diana. There's a lovable bookworm, who goes through many transformations and her journey, while similar to Elloren's is beautiful in its own way. A lot of side characters are really good, but some could use a little more dimension.
The Black Witch has a lot to offer - the plot, while not very original, sure has many things that make it very appealing. The writing is phenomenal, if you ignore few words that definitely got overused here and there - the script is absolutely beautiful. I cannot believe that this was Forest's first book. She absolutely has the talent!
The book also makes you think - it throws you into uncomfortable situations and makes you draw parallels with the real world - who would you believe, what would you do, what would you change?
I thoroughly enjoyed The Black Witch and will be reading the next installment, The Iron Flower very soon (was very lucky to get an ARC of it, whaaaaat). There are so many ways the story could go and I cannot wait to explore it.
I would have swallowed this book up in one day, but horrendous headache made me wait. In other words this book was so hard to put down! I just had to keep reading, I just had to know how everything would end.
This is a fantastic debut novel, it's actually hard to believe that this is just a debut - everything flows so nicely, and Frey's writing is simply addicting.
This is such a creative take on a kidnapping story! I've never read anything like this and this book just didn't want to let me go.
Is kidnapping wrong? This book will change your perspective and flip your world upside down.
I loved how Not Her Daughter portrayed media attention in this book - how all of those TV stories only show you what's on the surface, only what they want you to see - twisting the truth just so they can make the headlines more shocking. But what if in some instances kidnapping is actually. good thing? What if it's not kidnapping, but saving?
The bond between Emma and Sarah in this book was so tender and real, and full of love it seeped through the pages. Amy's insecurities, and anger and hate were so strong - frankly, it was very hard not to wish for her to die the most painful death imaginable.
If not for the few plot flops that I just couldn't overlook this book would have been a shining 5 stars, but 4.5 coming from me (so critical!) is a high praise too. I just couldn't understand some of the decisions Sarah made - why would she stay at the cabin for so long, why would she trust Ethan, how come he didn't just turn her in (he knew her name and much more). Also the plot line with Charlie's father went nowhere, and I felt like I needed a little bit more closure there.
If you want an impossible-to-put-down summer book - read this. If you want a perfect book club discussion novel - read this. If you want a perfect women fiction book - read this. Not Her Daughter will make you sad, happy and angry - all at once, so don't miss this little rollercoaster of a read.
Big thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-arc copy provided for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart. Not Her Daughter comes out on August 21st!.
It is a shame when such a pretty cover hides such a useless book. My reaction when I was finished with the book? "What in the world did I just read??"
Like living in a snow globe, The Waiter is a captivating study in miniature. Everything is just so, and that’s exactly how the waiter needs it to be. One can understand why he becomes anxious when things begin to change. In fact, given the circumstances, anxiety just might be the most sensible response...
Sure, the synopsis sold me on this book, even though I was already so intrigued by the beautiful cover, but did the book deliver? Absolutely not.
It wasn't a study in miniature, it wasn't study of chaos as it erupted around an anxious waiter - it was a mess of neurotic thoughts, random encounters, angry and derogatory ramblings and bunch of "important" names thrown around. Add the unresolved ending on topped all you have is a big floppy mess of nothing.
My first problem with this book was that it made you feel left out - the waiter would ramble on about things, and places and names that I knew nothing about, or barely knew, and honestly a person who hasn't ever been to Europe probably wouldn't know either. It felt as if the book was written for a very small, specific audience, and at times it even felt as if the reader wasn't necessary at all.
Surprisingly, there were things that I really liked. I liked waiters views on clothing - how we like to wear brand clothing because we think it makes us original, that it creates our own personal style, but in reality we are just parading somebody else's ideas, specifically a designers who made the clothing. So instead of being original and distinguished we are no more than just a walking commercial for those clothes. I thought that was absolutely brilliant way to look at it and I definitely agree with it.
I decided to read the whole thing because I wanted to see how it would play out. Now that I did, I wish I just abandoned it (I had to skim the last 30% - I was quite bored). The ending didn't wrap anything up, didn't close any loops or holes, and it did't explain anything at all. Which made the whole reading experience pointless to me.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket books for providing an advanced e-ARC for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
I am quite surprised that this book isn't talked about more, on Goodreads specifically. It is the epitome of a perfect summer read - I ate it up in one day (and this book isn't small - 448 pages).
Also, I had no expectations whatsoever when I started reading it, so I think that contributed to me being very pleasantly surprised by this debut.
The beginning of the book has very strong Pretty Little Liars vibes, but much, much better executed. However, as the book progressed I started comparing it to The Secret Garden by Kate Morton (which I recently also read). The comparison is due to the story branching out through two generations- past and present colliding, and that is something Morton does in her every book. But, while The Secret Garden almost put me to sleep, All These Beautiful Strangers hooked me and didn't let go till the very end.
Mostly, we follow the story through Charlie in the present day, but we also get glimpses into the past from her parents' points of view. The overlapping was done really well, and the story flow felt very natural. And if I put you off by comparing this to Pretty Little Liars, don't worry All These Beautiful Strangers is far superior to PLL in every sense - structural, grammatical and just in general the writing is quite good.
Charlie is a great main character to follow around - she doesn't pull her punches, she says what she thinks and never takes it back. Sure, she might be a bit antisocial, but I was actually able to relate to that. The story is set in a prestige boarding school, but despite that it wasn't tacky in a way college novels can be.
By the end it did get pretty intense and I loved it! The book that makes me feel things (and I felt scared for the character) is a book worth reading my opinion! All These Beautiful Strangers is a perfect summer read, and as far as young adult mystery books go - this one is one of the best I've read so far.
Big thanks to the publisher, William Morrow, for providing an advanced reader copy for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Ohh, pretty covers - how many times am I going to be hurt by you? Obviously the cover caught my eye. The description was very lovely, and I was expecting something along the lines of The Lido by Libby Page (loved that one!). But this wasn't anything like that. It probably wasn't meant to be anything like it, but I think my expectations got in the way.
I could tell from the very first pages that I wasn't going to like this book, but I kept giving it chances - hoping with all my heart that something would change my mind - but alas, that didn't happen.
My main problem was that I couldn't see the point of this book - not at 20%, not at 51% and not at 71%. I just didn't know why I was reading it and what the book was trying to make me feel. Because I didn't feel anything. Nothing. And if the book doesn't make you feel then what is even the point?
It didn't help that Lana wasn't a very interesting, or for that matter a nice main character to follow. And don't get me wrong, I love unlikable protagonists, but I just couldn't stand Lana. To start off she was as bland as white bread.
She was also very selfish, petty and "know it all". She tried teaching a class, but the students had way more insight on the subject than she did. She violated Nancy's privacy and read her journal because she selfishly hoped to find a story in there. I'm sure she was meant to come off as relatable to the readers, because she had so many flaws, but to me she didn't.
Because Lana was so self-centered the whole book had the voice of conceited stiffness. Everything she did was for self gain - all she cared about was her book, which in hind sight didn't sound like a good book at all.
The plot also didn't make much sense - a random guy encounter who offers to be her "hero" and they go on bunch of fake dates - that's just so unrealistic. Once again I'm sure the goal here was to come off as "sweet" and "different", but to me the whole thing was just weird.
I'm happy for all the people who enjoyed the book, but for me it lacked depth, and I just wasn't the fan of the whole thing altogether. It offered little nourishment and no emotional value to me and that is definitely something I look for in a book.
Big thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for providing me with a digital arc for review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Having previously read the novella by Devin Madson, In Shadows we Fall I immediately wanted more. So I just went ahead and got the 1st book of The Vengeance Trilogy - and here we are.
From the very first words of the novella I knew I loved the writing, so it was no surprise at just how much I enjoyed it in the full pledge novel as well.
Before I forget I do recommend reading the novella prior to the trilogy - you don't have to, but trust me it will bring an extra dimension to everything. It will also make you feel as if you're in on a secret - for you will know things that characters themselves don't know yet.
The Blood of Whispers is told from 3 main points of view - from characters so morally grey and driven by vengeance that you don't know whom to make your favorite, or even if you should pick a favorite or just abandon all of them to their blood thirstiness.
I think that it was absolutely genius to have story told from such characters - every time I'd start liking one they would do something and I would be like "maybe not?". The plot is intricate enough that by the end of the novel you don't know whose views are good and who is right and who is wrong?
The world is explored through Endymion, Darius and Hana's points of view and while I don't have a certain favorite I'd have to say that Darius is the closest choice. Mysterious, quietly suffering and very secretive - who doesn't like one of those in a fantasy novel, right?
Hana would have been my favorite if only she would abandon her stupid notion that being a woman is useless, that being a woman is a defect. It is honestly the only thing that rubbed me wrong (very wrong) in the book. I am just hoping that by the end of the trilogy she realizes her potential as a woman, and realizes that you don't need to wear trousers and shun all things feminine to be strong. She has potential, but she herself dwarfs it with her barbaric way of thinking.
The ending left a great potential for the second book, and at this point I don't know how things would unfold at all. Thought the whole book I felt engaged and never once was I bored. I was also scared a lot, as Madson is not gentle to her characters.
I am honestly very surprised that this series isn't more popular. It's much better than lots of "fantasy" novels out there who just follow the same cookie-cutter plot. While The Blood of Whispers is not completely original in any way it does brings new things to the table and it definitely deserves more attention.
Can't wait to read book 2!
There is nothing like a used bookstore, nothing! The thrill of the hunt itself is exhilarating, not to mention that shelves of books upon books are quite intoxicating.
Here is my little haul - all of these together were 5$.
1. The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
Did I get this book solely for its beautiful cover? Yes, I did.
An iridescent jewel of a novel that proves love is the mother of invention
In the early 1800s, a young Italian contessa, Carolina Fantoni, realizes she is going blind shortly before she marries the town's most sought-after bachelor. Her parents don't believe her, nor does her fiancé. The only one who understands is the eccentric local inventor and her longtime companion, Turri. When her eyesight dims forever, Carolina can no longer see her beloved lake or the rich hues of her own dresses. But as darkness erases her world, she discovers one place she can still see-in her dreams. Carolina creates a vivid dreaming life, in which she can not only see, but also fly, exploring lands she had never known.
2. House on the River: A Summer Journey by Nessa Rapoport
This just caught my eye because the cover looked so old and antique.
A nostalgic summer vacation resulted in this beautifully written and evocative memoir, which explores the deep bonds across generations, the power of memory to shape a person's life, and the way loss can be distilled into a source of consolation.
3. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa (translator)
I have been so good with my bookish resolutions this year - read more foreign authors - check and check!
A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place 27 years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.
Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society--not just a pair of murderers—is put on trial.
4. Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Picked up another copy of Villette because I am collecting Brontes.
With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë's most accomplished and deeply felt work, eclipsing even Jane Eyre in critical acclaim. Her narrator, the autobiographical Lucy Snowe, flees England and a tragic past to become an instructor in a French boarding school in the town of Villette. There, she unexpectedly her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Gineva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquette. The first pain brings others, and with them comes the heartache Lucy has tried so long to escape. Yet in spite of adversity and disappointment, Lucy Snowe survives to recount the unstinting vision of a turbulent life's journey - a journey that is one of the most insightful fictional studies of a woman's consciousness in English literature
5. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Caught my eye with its description.
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.
6. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
From the bestselling author of Practical Magic, a miraculous, enthralling tale of a woman who is struck by lightning, and finds her frozen heart is suddenly burning.
Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.
She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets--what turned one to ice and the other to fire.
A magical story of passion, loss, and renewal, The Ice Queen is Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best.
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Been on my TBR for a while.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic
8. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
In my review of the Secret Garden I said that I won't read anymore of Morton, but this book was in mint condition for 50c, so here I am.
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.
Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.
I love me a good fantasy novella - I think that they are a sure sign of how talented the author is. It is no easy feat to comprise something tangible and complete in so little pages.
This novella is a prequel to author's The Vengeance Trilogy and it does a great job of making the reader crave more of this world, more of the setting, more of the beautiful writing and to just know what happens next??
Obviously, I already purchased the first book in the trilogy - I mean how could you not?
I've been craving more asian inspired fantasy books and this honestly couldn't have come at a better time. In Shadows we Fall is a perfect mix of power hungry delusional emperor, a conspiracy, a mother who would do anything for her children and magic that puts fear into your bones.
Being a novella it is short, like very short. And that's probably my only complaint with it - because I really, really wanted more! Even 10 more pages would have done the trick, but instead I am left with millions of questions and a burning desire to read the next book immediately (I just might to be honest).
The writing pulled me in from page one - it was seamless, simple but descriptive. The characters are so morally conflictive that you don't know who to root for, or even if you should be rooting for anybody at all.
Is it fair to leave the reader hungry for more? Is it fair to tease and give nothing away? Sure - this is a brutal fantasy world, and here all and nothing is fair.
Like I've said before - a good mystery book shouldn't be longer than 300 pages. In this case 288 was perfectly enough.
I picked Mind's Eye randomly in a second hand book shop because the cover and then a description caught my eye. It being written by a Swedish author was a gigantic plus because 2018 is a year in which I'm trying to read a lot of foreign authors. Speaking of foreign, the translation for this was superb - really, really enjoyed it.
As it usually goes with mystery novels - it's hard to review them without giving anything away, so I will just be very general here. The writing was blunt and very refreshing and therefore the book was a breeze to read through. Even a little bit addicting at some points. The opening was fantastic - it lures the reader right in and doesn't want to let go.
I love myself some cold European sarcasm and boy did this book deliver - I laughed out loud quite a few times, which was such a pleasant surprise.
Van Veeteren is a "lovely" character to follow. The description on the back cover that compares him to Dr. House is quite spot on. Yes, you can definitely call him Dr. House of the investigation scene. Grumpy, snarky and with no regards to other people's feelings. Although to be honest he could have cranked up his grumpiness a few notches (or a lot) and I would have enjoyed it even more.
We don't really get to divulge into Von's detective style - there's a lot of conversation, interrogation and coffee drinking, but he doesn't reveal much of his thoughts until the very end. Which both is good and kind of annoying. It's good because it keeps the reader guessing, but it's also annoying because who likes to be in the dark??
The plot is nothing special, but despite of that there wasn't a point in which I felt bored o wanted to speed things up. I will definitely try to pick up more of his books in the future.
It boggles my mind how a book that supposedly has everything I love in books ended up being the book that I didn't love.
Historical fiction? - check!
Beautiful cover? - check!
Magic woven into history? - check!
YA book that doesn't have any unnecessary and annoying sex scenes? - check!
The execution of all of those things together? - ehhh...
I honestly don't know what, or even how that happened? The premise seemed so promising. The cover obviously caught my cover-whore loving eye. But from the very first pages I was very uninterested, and to be honest, pretty bored.
For starters the story drops us into the historical setting of Guy Fawkes' son and into the era in which Guy Fawkes was famous for something. Who is Guy Fawkes? What did he actually do? I have absolutely no idea - my point is that if the reader is not already familiar with history of that era - will be just as lost as I was. And probably uninterested, because if guy Fawkes had any significance, I didn't know it, thus I really didn't care for his character.
His son, Thomas, and our main character was the most bland, whiny and illogical character ever. Emma is honestly the only character that had any potential. The plot wasn't holding my attention at all, but the biggest mess of this book was "the magic system".
If I tried to explain "the magic" - I couldn't. Because it wasn't explained in the book. The ideas, the premises were so good, so much potential! But in the end it was just too much, or too little? Too undefined, too underdeveloped - just messy.
My disappointment in this book is quite sad - when I got approved for my request for it I literally squealed with glee because I was so excited for it. But, alas.
Big thanks to NetGalley and THOMAS- Nelson Fiction for my e-ARC for a review. All of the opinions are mine, honest and come from the heart.
Two things saved this book for me: Vivien and the twist at the end. If not for that I was fully prepared to give this book 2 stars and be done with it.
For starters, 480 pages is way too long for a mystery novel. Even if this is a historical fiction mystery (although there was't nearly as much history in it as I'd have liked for I love myself a good war story!) - it was just way too drawn out.
Take it from Agatha Christie, the mystery queen herself, a good mystery doesn't and shouldn't be longer than 350 pages.
This would have worked out so much better just as a war time story about love and jealousy - not a mystery, because surprisingly the way the mystery was solved was the most annoying component in this book.
For starters Laurel was an immersive bore of a character and I couldn't wait to get on other people's points of view. For so many pages given to the character development she wasn't developed at all - so much time was spent on her but she was merely a tool for the mystery solving and a not very good one at that.
The way the clues came to her (ohhh look all of those people kept journals and they still exist, how convenient ) and how she kept guessing correctly every time about how the story went all of those years ago - I couldn't help but roll my eyes, it was so not believable! She's not a detective, and she's definitely no Sherlock Holmes so having her just guess and piece all of the things together was very cheesy and quite frankly, annoying.
When reading pages set in 2011 I kept thinking "hurry up hurry up" for I just wanted to get on with the plot but Laurel kept rambling on and on about nothing at all. That said I loved all of the parts set in 1941 - Vivien, Jimmy and Doll and also their childhood stories were very well put together and I enjoyed every page of it. It almost feels like 2011 and 1941 were written by different people.
Despite Doll being the most horrible human being on earth, and Jimmy not being the brightest at times when it counted, and despite the long wait to actually uncover the whole of Vivien's story it was still so enjoyable. I only wish there was more scenery to it, because the war wasn't depicted very much in this - just bombings here and there, food rationing and orphans in the hospital - there just wasn't enough of a war atmosphere for me.
I don't think I will read more of Morton, I looked at her other books and they all are 600+ pages behemoths. And if I thought that 480 pages was drawn out I can't even imagine what I would think of a mystery novel that's 600+ long. Because unless it's epic fantasy I honestly don't have time for books that big.
The main reason as to why I picked this book up:
"Cora Bellamy is a woman who thrives on organization. She’s successfully run her own dog training business for years, perfectly content with her beloved rescue pitbull as the main man in her life."
Sure, the cover caught my eye too, but once I saw the words rescued pitbull I was sold. As an owner of a pitlab mix dog I am sick and tired of people judging the poor breed for what we, as humans, did to them (and sadly still continue to do).
Will a cub tiger try to eat you or will it cuddle you? Baby animals do not learn their instincts until they are are taught them - by their mother or by a human. As shocking as it sounds a pitbull dog doesn't want to fight another dog for your entertainment . But it will do it if its trained to do so. So before you call a pitbull (or a doberman, or a boxer or whatever breed you have prejudice with) a monster, think about the true monsters behind the dog who enjoy watching innocent animals fight to death so they can make money on it.
I got a bit off topic over there, but some things you just can't keep inside. I enjoyed every single bit of this book that had to do with dogs - dogs of all shapes and sizes. Cora is a dog whisperer and the bond she was able to share with each dog made me pet my dog twice as much as I normally do (and I already pet her a lot!)
The only reason this book wasn't a complete winner for me was because I didn't really care for the tv-show plot. There was just too much tv-show talk in it - I read books because I don't care about tv-shows, so obviously I don't really want to read about them. But it did propel the plot forward and all of the things that happened were nicely wrapped up in the end.
Cora was a great main character - she was shy, but strong. She had her baggage but she always came through when important things were on the line. And her devotion to her profession was truly remarkable. We need people like Cora in real life! The love interest, or should I say the lust interest of Cora's infuriated me, but in the end I was able to see where Cora was coming from and forgave her.
The side characters were well developed and added nice dimension to the story. I really enjoyed Maggie, although her falling out with Darnell and then falling back in was a bit too easy to be believable.
Despite the happy ending the book wasn't the lightest of reads for me. As a loving dog owner it was incredibly hard to read about abuse and injustice many dogs had to go through. And from the hands of their owners! It broke my heart and I definitely teared up more than once while reading.
I think that this will make a great summer read for both dog lovers and those who don't know much about dogs and how they operate. If I had to classify this I'd say chick-lit + dogs. The book is actually rich on good dog advice (thanks to the author's dog training background) so I think I also learned something from it.
This review wouldn't be complete without a picture of my own dog, so reading world, meet Luna (named after a Luna-cat in Sailor Moon).
Big thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket books for an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart. Life on the leash will be published in September of 2018.
Reusing a photo because e-books don't photograph that well.
I have so many questions.
- Why didn't anybody tell me how bad this was?
- Why did I fall for the pretty cover yet again?
- Why didn't I DNF'd it?
- Why YA fantasy isn't really fantasy at all?
- Why did I spend $2 on it?
I do have to say that this had tons of potential. Tons! But sadly it was all wasted away. Partly because of the super Insta-romance, and partly because of the very detached writing.
I have never read a book where writing was both very good and very, very bad. The beginning pulled me in because I liked the writing - it was simple, yet it did the job. For few pages at least. But the more I progressed the more I felt detached from the story. It wasn't telling, it was showing and there's nothing worse than that in a fantasy novel. It also felt second hand, as if the story was being re-told. Details were glazed over, there was no world building whatsoever and the fight scenes were non-existent.
For a book that for the bigger portion of it focuses on a tournament - the actual tournament was so short and so under-described that I had to read over again to make sure I didn't miss it. The fights were explained in 2-3 sentences tops and they all ended as soon as they began. I was flabbergasted! The book wanted to show these women as awesome warriors yet it skipped and glazed over all of the fight scenes? I could have used way less fawning over "his pretty chiseled chin line" and more of actual fighting.
Which brings me to the romance. The romance was more instant than the instant coffee and I couldn't care less about it. Curiously enough there was no actual romantic development, despite the main character always thinking about "her lover". There was no connection, no tenderness and no apparent reason for that romance to bloom. She saw him for the very first time and boom she knew he was the one! Bullets left the gun slower!
If we ignore the nauseating romance the book still doesn't have that much to offer. Cool magic concept that wasn't explored nearly enough. Side characters that didn't get enough page time. World that didn't get any world building at all. And the only details we got were as to which color sari she was wearing and how thick her eyes were lined in kohl.
I also wasn't a fan of the "religion" in the book. The author's note states that it was tweaked from an actual religion, and I don't like that. You either create your own completely unique religion, or you follow an existent one to the tee. Also the whole thing was undeniably disgusting - a "king" who's got hundred wives and over two hundred "whores" and he would "spend time" with 4-5 of them at once. Ewwwwww.
The plot did have some interesting turns here and there, but it just wasn't enough to make up for how atrociously predictable the whole book was - every YA cliche possible - this book got it. If you strip away the fantasy setting this was pretty much Shatter Me by There Mafi (it just popped into my head and now I can't unsee the similarities).
This should teach me once again not to trust pretty covers. I don't know if series get better or worse after this and I don't know if I will be picking up the rest. Not soon that's for sure.
Writing these little "immediate TBR's" helps me to stay on track with my reading, especially with my ARC's. So here we go.
Currently reading (and not liking at all)
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R King
I bought this on Amazon on a while, mostly because of the gorgeous cover )I never learn!).
I am at 50 percent mark and so far this turned out to be a nauseatingly predictable YA with every single cliche possible. I am thinking about def-ing it, it's just that bad.
Also I am not very keen on the "Indian religion and culture being changed ever so slightly to comprise a new religion for this book". In my opinion you should either create a completely different and new one for the book, or just follow the existent one to the tee.
Net Galley ARC's TBR
Life on the leash by Victoria Schade
Cora Bellamy is a woman who thrives on organization. She’s successfully run her own dog training business for years, perfectly content with her beloved rescue pitbull as the main man in her life. She’s given everything to her business, and her lack of social life (or slobber-free clothes) has been completely worth it.
I'm going to be honest - the main reason I want to read this book is this "perfectly content with her beloved rescue pitbull as the main man in her life". I am so sick and tired of pitbull breed prejudices so I'm hoping this book does this extremely loving, albeit a bit too energetic breed justice.
Although the cover does not have a pitbull on it, so that's already a reg flag. Will see, will see.
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.
Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.
I am in the mood for 17 century novels for some reason. when life was dim and every sneeze turned out to be a deadly disease. Also, the cover is beautiful.
First of all - look at the cover! Look at it! It's so beautiful. Was the cover the reason this book caught my eye? Absolutely, I am a cover whore after all. And then I read the description and I was completely sold!
When I was reading this book a thought sprang to mind "this is what "Stalking Jack the Ripper" should have been. Minus Jack the Ripper. There are a lot of similarities between the books, but they are also very different from each other.
We have the strong feminist character, who is actually a strong feminist character - not just pretending to be one, the macabre world of the dead bodies and dissections, and a mystery.
The Impossible Girl was impossible to put down for the first 50 percent of the book. The plot was moving beautifully, the main heroine, Cora was a delight to read about and the topic was fascinating. I loved, loved Cora's secret identity! It was just such a cool perspective to read from.
The other 50 percent of the book dipped pretty low on the fascination scale - it was a bit too repetitive for my liking and few things happened that left a bad taste in my mouth. But it did pick up later on with a roller coaster speed and I was back engrossed into the world of living and the dead. The plot twist, while I myself figured out early on (I just read A LOT of mysteries when I was a teenager so honestly not many things can surprise me) was still pleasant from the writing point of view. It was definitely done the correct way. And the madness that ws uncovered with that twist? Disgustingly brilliant!
Things were pretty bad for a while for poor Cora, and when you think they couldn't have gotten worse, they of course did. I'd say that the last 20 percent of the book were pretty stressful to read through. Which is how it should be in a mystery book!
I can tell that this book was brilliantly researched and I genuinely enjoyed all of the medical things portrayed in it - and I am the world's biggest hypochondriac! For the side characters I enjoyed Suzette a lot, which I didn't expect myself to do and I liked Dr. Blackwell, but I wish she got more page time to be honest - there was so much more potential to her.
Some parts were laced with pretty great humor which made me laugh out loud. There was a part which made me feel very unconformable and I was flabbergasted at how Cora had no proper reaction to it whatsoever. If I saw what she saw I'd be scarred for life, but I guess she was a very tough girl after all.
This will be published in the late September - perfect in time for Halloween, when all of us crave macabre books! I definitely recommend!
Big thanks to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a digital advanced copy for a review. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Freelance BETA reader.