Wednesday, 14 November 2018

#58 Muse of Nightmares

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor 
(Strange the Dreamer #2)

'I would have chosen you, it they had let me choose'

This review will be hard to write as im trying to keep it as spoiler free as possible.

Ok so i was nervous going into this, i loved the first book and knowing that this was a duology and this book was the ending worried me, i thought if i didnt like it then it would ruin the first book. I needn't of bothered worrying though as it was pretty epic. I listened to this on audio book and it surprisingly really added to the story.

This story picks up right where Strange the Dreamer leaves off with the introduction of 2 newbies, Kora and Nova which at first i wasnt sure about this but their story became so important to the overall story. We also get our fill of Lazlo and Sarai as well as the majority of our other beloved characters from the first book.

There was so much character growth particularly in Minya, i was shook! Taylor took this character to another world that i really didnt expect. Never did i think i would actually sympathise with her.

I love how the story is split into parts, it flows so well this way and there are so many beautiful quotes throughout. The writing is SO stunningly beautiful, the world building is second to none and crafted so amazingly and every character is so intriguing. I just loved it, i could gush about it all day.

There were so many heartbreaking moments that it really tugged at the heartstrings. I dont think i will be over this book for a long time, i hope this is not the end!

This is definitely a contender for my favourite book of 2018.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

#57 The Leaving

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

The Leaving is the story of how six children are taken on their first day of kindergarten and eleven years later and five of them return with no recollection of where they have been for all those years. The story is told in three perspectives, Lucas and Scarlett who are two of the five children to return and also Avery who is the big sister of Max who is the sixth child that didn't return. The multiple perspectives works really well for this type of story as you get drips and drabs of each characters back story and what they remember from the eleven years. 

Each of the six children begin to remember bits and pieces as theirs memories begin to come back and the story of what really happens slowly unravels. This was a fascinating read and such a page turner! i read it in two sittings as i needed to know what happened especially what happened to Max and why he didn't return with the others and really struggled to put it down. 

This wasn't a 5 star read for me as there was a few things i didn't like. Mainly Avery as a character, i found her highly annoying. Also the notes she was receiving that she believed where from Max? Not sure why that didn't unravel or wasn't touched upon more. 

I love mystery YA books that are not thrillers and this is the only one ive read in that genre that ive enjoyed! I thought the writing style was interesting especially in Scarletts chapters where the words are often reflective of how Scarlett is feeling and they are scattered on the pages to show or mind set or they will spiral to show her panic or if shes confused. 

I enjoyed Lucas' perspective as he tries to understand his thoughts and memories and tries to figure out if he is violent or has committed any violent acts. His chapters are very thought provoking and heartfelt, it reads like a confused boy that doesn't know how to begin life again now that hes home after eleven years. 

This book has some of thee worst parents in YA and im a big fan of family themes in YA books but honestly there wasn't a single redeeming adult character in this whole book! Not sure how realistic that is? Also the romance in this book was completely unnecessary and really didn't add anything to the story!  

The ending wasn't disappointing to me but i felt like there could have been SO much more and it really wasn't what i expected but i was glad that after all the build up that it wasn't a total let down. 

I've seen a LOT of negative reviews for this on GR and booktube, im not sure why as it wasn't a bad story and im glad it was kept as a stand alone story as we dont have enough stand alones in YA. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

#56 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


This really isn't my type of book, id heard and seen the hype and did my very best to ignore it as i assumed this was a fluffy romance. A couple friends of mine on GR read it and rated it quite highly so i thought screw it, im going to check it out! Never have i been more surprised, i loved this story!

The plot follows Evelyn Hugo who is your 'Marilyn Monroe' type icon, Shes a vintage movie star when women were first up and coming in Hollywood. At the time of her fist successful film the media portrayed her as scandalous and they document every poor decision she ever made with a focus on her many marriages.

As you can probably tell from the title of the book Evelyn has been married seven times, when all of her husbands are dead and Evelyn in her late 80's decides to tell her story in the form of a biography, she enlists the help of Monique who is an up and coming writer at a magazine company. Monique is shocked to be chosen by Evelyn but goes along for the ride hoping it will advance her career.

The two begin meeting at Evelyn's Manhattan apartment to discuss the ins and outs of each marriage. Monique warms to Evelyn and her no nonsense attitude to life. The story also followed Moniques life as a struggling writer who is going through a divorce. You really grow to love both Monique and Evelyn as the story progresses. The twists and turns are amazing, i didn't see any of them coming!

Each husband is split into their own section in the book which makes it so much easier to understand. The way the story is intricately woven together is masterfully done. Some marriages were short whereas some were much longer. I thoroughly enjoyed the newspaper cut outs that were included as they showed the outside worlds view on Evelyns life whilst she went through the actual truth at the same time.

Evelyn married her best friend Harry Cameron to cover up the fact that they were both in gay relationships. Evelyn was in seeing her co-star and fellow actress Celia St James whilst Harry was in a relationship with Celia's husband John. This was her longest marriage lasting over 15 years and resulting in the couple having a daughter Connor. The four lived together and did everything together until Celia leaves and divorces John. When John prematurely dies of a heart attack Harry is left a broken man and turns to alcohol to numb his pain. A few years pass with Harry drinking more and more, he eventually dies whilst drink driving. Evelyn then marries Celias brother in another fake marriage to hide her lesbian relationship and they all move to Spain. Celia is very ill at this point and has limited years left to live. When Celia eventually passes away Evelyn then is left alone with Celias brother and the 2 remain married until he dies as well. Connor is then diagnosed with breast cancer which also kills her. Its all very real and very raw.

When everyone has died that Evelyn has ever loved she then plans to tell the truth after so many years of constant lies and cover ups.

This book made me laugh but it also made me ugly cry, the last 50 pages very nearly killed me. Evelyn lost her daughter to breast cancer and is auctioning off her old Hollywood dresses to raise money for breast cancer research. This was particularly hard for me to read as i have a daughter myself and can never ever imagine the pain of losing her so i found myself fully sobbing when Evelyn described her loss. The LGBT representation in this book was fantastic and so subtle, it was in no way in your face which i think happens in a lot of YA but i guess thats the difference between YA and adult fiction.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

#55 The Cows

The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

The Cows follows the story of 3 middle aged women: Tara, Stella and Cam.

Tara is a 42 year old single mother to six year old Annie. Her life is turned upside down when after a date she masturbates on a late night tube when she thinks shes alone in the carriage. She is filmed in the throws of ecstasy and the footage is posted online and goes viral overnight. When the video has been viewed by 9 million people she is branded 'wank woman' and her life has instantly been altered forever.

Stella is a 29 year old with not much going for her. Both her mum and identical twin sister died of cancer at a young age and she feels like her destiny to go out the same way is written in the stars. She inherited her London flat from her mum and lives there with her boyfriend Phil. She works as a PA to a photographer who is in the middle of writing his first book. Her job is her life and she doesnt have many real friends due to living in her twin sisters shadow for the majority of her life.

Cam is a lifestyle 'say it like it is' blogger who found fame through her website which is a global sensation. Women tune in to read her no nonsense attitude to life. Cam is in her early thirties with no desire to conform to getting married or having children. She writes blog posts about her choice to be childless and is hailed both a drama queen attention seeker by some and a goddess feminist by others. She is a constant disappointment to her mother and has 3 sisters who are all married with children. She also has slight agoraphobic tendencies and enjoys sleeping with much younger men.

There are so many unexpected twists to this story and the writing really is superb. I think the main theme is how much the internet can destroy your life. I am a massive fan girl of the internet, i use it for everything but this book was so thought provoking that it made me delve into the not so nice side that the internet has to offer how overnight it can strip you of your job, make the people closest to you very uncomfortable and also how it can open up a forum in which people can discuss what a terrible parent you are.

I adored this so much that i read it in one sitting which is fascinating considering i have a 16 month old toddler. I had no idea what it was about going in and that really worked for me as i wasnt expecting too much but 1 chapter in i was hooked. I am very keen to read more of Dawn O'Porters work as the writing was so intricate and her style made the story flow really well. I loved the feminist themes woven in and how all three women didnt conform to societal norms.

The ending shocked me as it was so sudden yet also very satisfying at the same time. Solid 4 stars from me.

Monday, 6 August 2018

#54 Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Where to begin... well this book near damn killed me, those last 30 pages or so made me sob! Ive wanted to read this for so long as ive seen it everywhere and everyone and their aunt has read it already. Ive been massively into YA fantasy lately so it seemed like the perfect time to pick it up, boy was i not prepared! Going into this i knew nothing, not one thing about it so experiencing it first hand was amazing

So Strange the Dreamer follows the story of Lazlo Strange an orphan boy who was very sickly from birth, he was raised by monks, when he is 12 he goes to a library and never leaves and when he became of age he became a junior librarian himself. Lazlo never knew love and basically raised himself. He grew up with stories and fairy tales of the lost city of Weep and made it his lifes mission to discover this fantastical land.

When Lazlo is given an opportunity to go with a group to save the city of Weep when the Godslayer visits the library in order to recruit the scholars to help him with his mission to save Weep. As Lazlo is not a scholar he thinks there is no hope for him to be chosen to go but as he has studied the language of Weep for seven years he pleads to the Godslayer to take him along as a storyteller. This is the first time outsiders have been invited into the city of Weep.

The main thing i loved was the the world building, jesus it was second to none! The devastation of Weep and the lose of the children was amazingly descriptive and so well written.  The pacing and flow of the story was also really well done.

I loved Lazlo as a character as hes portrayed as an unattractive, rough character with a crooked nose i just loved him so much, he is so kind hearted and his love for books is so endearing. The romance is so so beautiful and honestly nearly killed me. Lazlo is such a pure character who has earned a spot in my top fictional characters of all time. There isnt really any villain characters, there are a few 'bad' characters but each have reasons and back stories for the way they are. Im so ready for the sequel and upon googling it ive seen its being released this year, Laini Taylor you goddess! Thank you for not making me wait over a year for the sequel. I really want to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone books now.

Some things i didnt like (theres always something) the whole Sparrow/Ruby/Feral love triangle thingy! So uninteresting and unnecessary... was so distracting from the main part of the story. The ending was a world wind honestly it all happened so fast and there wasn't much build up! Dont get me wrong it devastated me but think it could have been slowed down ever so slightly plus i love a good build up and that was missing.

I really enjoyed this story, i didnt love it like most people did and didnt agree with some of the plot twists but this was still a 4.5 start read for me.

I dont love the UK paperback cover but the American hardback cover is so beautiful! I want it! This book is 530 pages which i managed to destroy in 3 days with a full 8 hour shift in between those days.

Friday, 27 July 2018

#53 Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu

Ready Player One meets Dota 2, if you like either of those then you will undoubtedly love this!

A few years ago i read Legend and really enjoyed it then quickly followed it up by reading Prodigy which i also enjoyed, ive no idea why i never finished the trilogy by reading Champion... I think at the time a lot of people said it wasnt a great ending so i avoided it. My point is that i enjoyed the writing and since then ive added a few more of her books to my TBR, mainly The Young Elites which i am yet to read but when i saw the gorgeous cover of Warcross i knew i had to have it, its beautiful!

I read the description and instantly fell in love with the premise and actually started it quite soon after buying it i picked it up to read which is rare, normally they sit dormant in my bedroom for ages!

The story follows Emika Chen who is an orphaned juvenile delinquent living in a run down apartment in New York City, she is a skilled hacker and works as a bounty hunter meaning she hunts down petty criminals for the police department to cash in the monetary reward. When she is 3 months behind on her rent and faces imminent eviction she decides to hack into the game Warcross which has a yearly tournament for the best teams, she decides to try and steal a high level power up from one of the players in order to sell to pay off her rent arrears but when she accidentally glitches into the game for the whole world to see she fears that she will be arrested but when she receives a call from Hideo Tanaka the owner of Henka Games who created Warcross instead of anger he offers her a job... She must track down another hacker called Zero who is trying to sabotage the tournament so she is ultimately entered into the Warcross tournament as a Wildcard.

Right so for full disclosure reasons i really couldnt get into the first half of the book, i found it SO bloody boring! Dont get me wrong there were bits and pieces that happened that were interesting but i was thinking why isnt the game being explained more? why isnt she explaining more about the glasses and how they work? I love love loved the world but couldnt get why she didnt build on it more, it was so futuristic and cool but the story focused way too much on Emika! Also the romance was ever so slightly unnecessary, they could have followed the exact same path and just been friends, i hate unnecessary romance!

At around 62% of the way through i suddenly became so invested in the story, something just clicked and i then understood why it had so many 4 and 5 star ratings! For me the most interesting part of this story was the game Warcross, i want to play it! it sounds quite similar to Dota 2 which i spent so much wasted youth playing (no regrets!) unfortunately the story didnt revolve too much around the game and it just a side plot and judging by how this book ended i heavily doubt it will even feature in the sequel!

I have settled on a 3.5 stars rating as i cant forgive how crap the first half was, im sure many people loved it from the start but i just couldnt gel with it but once i was into it OMG couldnt put it down and i will most definitely be picking up the sequel (when it decreases in price and they release a paperback version) also im calling this now, i bet they make this into a film and done right it would be epic!

Saturday, 21 July 2018

#52 11 Missed Calls

11 Missed Calls by Elizabeth Carpenter

Firstly thank you to NetGalley for this free arc in exchange for my honest review!

This story follows Debbie who is married with 2 young children, when her second child is little over a month old the family go abroad on holiday with Debbies best friend Monica, her husband and their young son. On this holiday Debbie does not return and no one knows what happened the night she went missing.

The book is told from 2 perspectives, Debbies which is told in past tense and Annies/Anna's (Debbies daughter who was a month old when she diappeared) which is told in present tense. Anna never stopped wondering and looking for her mother, at certain points in her life it became an obsession and clearly messed her up. Debbies story begins when she has Anna and tells the indepth story of how she struggled being a new mum again and juggling 2 children. Her husband Peter seems to be a 'stereotypical husband' of that era (late 80's/early 90's) where he works all day and expects his wife to be a mum but also a chef and maid too, that irritated me to no end. Monica is also a big part of the story as not only is she the best friend but she also ends up marrying Peter and helping to bring up Bobby and Anna which in any thriller is very suspicious.

What this book does well is it makes you believe certain things as true such as we believe Nathan to be Leo's father so we never question that hes alive throughout nor is it ever mentioned that he too disappeared, i liked this twist as it was very clever! The ending was a but meh as Debbie was portrayed to be the loving mother who would do anything for her kids but the ending contradicted that for me.

I have so many mixed feelings about this book, im between a 2 or 3 star here but think im settling on a 2.5. It wasnt a bad book or terribly written i just think there are so many better thrillers out there like Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, The Girl in 6E etc

No i didnt guess the twist but i didnt really care that much either, yes i was intrigued and wanted to see it through until the end and im glad i did but how i know im loving a thriller is because i will constantly be thinking up what the twist is and thinking of my own conspiracies but i wasnt doing that with this book. It wasnt terrible and i did enjoy it but it doesnt stand out much as a UK thriller in my eyes.