Sunday, 29 April 2018

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet / Review

Meet Cute is an anthology of original short stories written by a wide variety of authors. I've decided to do a small review per story instead of one review for the whole book as there is just too much variety.

Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno - Perfect girls and the nobody, a pretty classic love story to be honest, I found this one to be really cute (I feel like that word is going to be used a lot), my only slight problem was that I couldn't relate to any of the characters. - 8/10
Print Shop by Nina LaCour - Adorable, and I know the feeling of starting a new job it's all very daunting. Although this was nice, I found it to be just a bit dull at some points though I could relate to the main character this time round. - 8/10
Hour Glass by Ibi Zoboi - I didn't find this one particularly interesting, and also didn't find it particularly "cute". However I have always had mixed feelings about romance, I can see how people who had a bit more appreciation for romance stories would enjoy this, it just wasn't much for me. - 6/10
Click by Katherine McGee - Now for some reason this was perfect in my eyes. I found it cute, funny and I really related to the main girl in this story. I find the idea of computers working out your perfect soul mate to be funny and stupid. I don't believe a computer has that ability, they can do a lot and they could find love but I don't believe it's a sure thing by any means. - 9/10
The Intern by Sara Shepard - This is the only one where I have previously read something by the author - I started reading Pretty Little Liars (not finished it yet but I will). Something I have mentioned on this blog before (in my post about In Sight of Stars) is that I have lost a family member and I know how it feels. This I found to relate to more than all of them. Super cute my only problem, a little predictable (and I'm a sucker for a good mystery). - 9/10
Somewhere That's Green by Meredith Russo - This one I found unexpected but as before adorable and super cute, then by the end even cuter. - 8/10
The Way We Love Down Here by Dhonielle Clayton - Ah... So... This one I didn't enjoy much, I spent the whole time reading it thinking of Moana (that Disney film with the island and the water), it was just a bit... Fantasy... Stuck on an island thinking there is nothing else in the whole world... Sorry Clayton, it was brilliantly written but the story wasn't for me. - 5/10
Oomph by Emery Lord - Ahhhhh. So damn adorkable (yes I am using the word adorkable), Marvel characters, making random friends, and the amount of airports I've been in I'll definitely remember airplane s'mores. - 9/10
The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout - As a lover of libraries (they are the best and if you don't support them what you doing with your life) this was THE perfeeect short story. The dream is to meet someone through a library. Or my dream anyhow. The was adorkable and both predictable and completely caught me off guard... it was an odd situation to be in. Loved it! - 10/10
The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies - I'm also a lover of maths, this one was about a girl trying to statistically find a boy. It was cute but damn that girl needed to think about human error. Another favourite by far.- 10/10
259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan - This one was for the perspective of a guy and it took me a second until someone called him Philip, almost all of the other stories have began with a girl, if not kept to the girls perspective the whole time. This one again was cute, but it didn't how I expected i felt my heart exploded as it finished! - 9/10
Something Real by Julie Murphy - Okay, the beginning of this one, funny and kind of relatable, the ending cute but I didn't like what happened just before the ending, got this weird thing about throwing up... so the beginning got an 8 the end got an 8 but the middle got like a 4... If something had been done only slightly differently it would have been a solid 8 or even 9. - 6/10
Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick - This one was cute, but that was about it. Nothing very exciting happened through the image that came into my head when the statue was mentioned made me laugh. I believe this was written in 2nd person, and that is the only style of writing I can't stand. Sorry. - 6/10
The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon - This one was also cute, guy can't get over his ex and goes to the DODL (The Department of Dead Love). However completely predictable. But cute and kind of adorable as well. - 8/10

Although I'm not particularly keen on short stories, cause I find they don't always develop well I overall enjoyed this anthology. I started reading this because I wanted to be able to  read in spare moments that I had while I've been doing lighting and sound for a local show i was involved in over the week. But reading a proper book I would have had to stop and start too often and therefor have trouble concentrating on what I was reading, I downloaded this on to my phone and voila, sorted for something to read.

Overall 8/10 (see above for individual ratings)

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Saturday, 28 April 2018

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Review

Good day!
I have been meaning to read this book since it was vaguely discussed in Year 9 as a possible book to study for GCSE English Literature. Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky, I got Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, actually what am I saying that was a brilliant book. Either way its's been on my TBR for a good few years and I'm glad I've finally read it.

Although this book what set almost 90 years ago, as a modern society we still have common theme's with this novel. If you've never read this it's about race and class in Alabama in the 1930's for a child's perspective. Atticus Finch gives advice to his children, Jem and Scout as he defends a black man who was charged with attacking a white girl. And it's written incredibly well. I think it is quite important that this book was from the perspective of a child because children are innocent and unbiased compared to adults, they haven't learnt how to only see what they want to see yet.
Words such as nigger are used throughout this book, that caught me out for a second before I remembered what time this book was based in, I found it really interesting to read this since most of what I read is either contemporary, or classic but based in the north of America, so I enjoyed reading something new. Looking at new theme's that I've never really touched on along with language that I would never use and that I've rarely seen in books.
Atticus was against guns, and from the moment I found that out I loved him, he was fair with his children and quite a learned man compared to a lot in Maycomb. And although he did let them run wild, that is something that I believe all children should be able to do. Jem and Scout got on very well, better than my sister and I ever have, but perhaps living in a time when the world was less individualistic but instead split between class or race getting on with your immediate family is just the norm. Both these children, are head strong, proud and a bit wild compared to what was expected from children of there time, but relatable even though this novel was based 90 years ago. I like to think at Scout's age I was just as inquisitive in my own way and just as wild at times. Of course not being from Alabama in the 1930's I can't possibly relate to a lot of things that happened in this book such as how close to home racism seems to be in Maycomb. Dill was an outsider who didn't have some of the opinions that the rest of the folk of Maycomb had, Dill put into words what maybe some of use were thinking at times, particularly during court.
Harper Lee was born in Alabama in 1926, she was a youngest child and her father was a lawyer between 1926 and 1938. Meaning this book was written in Lee's own voice and I wonder, but don't particularly want to know either way if her father ever had the same or similar case to the one of Tom Robinson.

I loved this book, it's thought provoking and even if you don't think to too much about it's relevance it's still a great story!
Will recommend to EVERYONE (just remember it uses harsh language, talks about some highly sensitive subjects and involves Racism, just remember)

Monday, 16 April 2018

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough Review

Thank you once again to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Everyone has secrets, Lisa, Marilyn, Ava but who is living the biggest lie of all? I'm not really sure what more I can say... Well as description, there's still the rest of the review to come.
Firstly - Isn't the cover brilliant?! Secondly - Review.

I found this book to switch fluidly between perspectives, going from a 16 year old to a 40 year old fantastically. While I was reading this book not once did I get confused about who's perspective I was reading as each character had their own unique way of communicating with the reader. Ava spoke like a 16 year old of this age may very well do -  using language I'd ever use but that I've heard being used by 16 year olds of 2018. Lisa was paranoid and wary of everything in life and I overall liked her character but there were times when the way Pinborough made her think just annoyed me. I couldn't relate to any of the characters in the book and until Part 2 still couldn't work out if I was actually enjoying it. And as for Marilyn she was a strong character who I loved over all, for me she was a bit slow to like but damn.
I found this book a hard one to stay with during part 1, though in retrospect part 1 was just as important as the rest of the book. I was also surprised very rarely, things happened - accusations were made but nothing surprised me, personally, until Child B (but don't worry I shall say no more about that matter) and from then onward I had a hard time putting the book down.
The "villain" did catch me off guard and I'm glad it did, I also like that although I didn't guess the clues all made sense when it came to the unveiling. It didn't feel rushed or made to just be a quick fix to a very complex story and I enjoyed that.
I found a great line while reading this - I thought it was on p221 on my edition but when I went back to find it I couldn't. And due to it being a PDF my Kobo refuses to search the file properly.
Overall although this was slow to begin it was a well written mystery and I'd recommend it to a friend.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown Review

Professor Robert Langdon receives a late-night call while on business in Paris, the curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Along side the body are a series of baffling codes and with the help of a French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, Langdon begins to sort through the riddles that lead to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. The clues suggest the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history.

I shall be making this a relatively short review.
Overall this was a fantastic book, I do have a few qualms though believe me they are small. To begin - I found this book to be extremely engaging every chapter ended on a cliff hanger meaning that it was almost impossible to put down, I was actually starting to feel the fatigue of the Langdon and Neveu. I also enjoyed the snippets of internal monologue we got from the different characters throughout, these were written in italics and gave that little bit extra that seemed to make the book that little bit more fascinating. The characters were smart and seemed to have quite a clear head on them.
Due to my previous travels to the Louvre and my general curiosity of Da Vinci's work I have seen the Mona Lisa in person and know quite well the painting of The Last Supper - these both were referenced in the book and because of my previous excursions I could easily picture them in my minds eye.
A 'qualm' (great word) I did have about this was the extent of the references to the church, religion and God. Not that I have anything against ant of these subjects but I am an atheist and know very little about Christianity so a lot of what was referred to did go over my head a bit. But then again the internal monologue and description that Brown included throughout the book was very helpful.
Some enjoyable extracts: (no spoilers I promise)

P 343 - History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books - books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, "What is history, but a fable agreed upon?"
P 440 Teabing's manservant Rémy appeared in the doorway at the top of the stairs. 'I  feel like a hostage working for Sir Leigh, but he assures me I am free to go.'

Although this is the second book in the Robert Langdon series I have been assured that this can be read before the first one Angels and Demons if you are in the situation of having this one but not the first. I felt like I didn't miss anything in terms of previous context. Except for various references to the Vatican (but none of them seemed to be particularly important to the plot of this book).
I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good page-turning crime novel.

Book first published 2003
All page number referenced are from my copy - ISBN 9780552149518

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sneaking Out by Chuck Vance Review

Thank you to I am a Reader for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Luke Chase a national hero, and sneaking out to the woods with his best friend to meet the new hot British girl at St Benedict's is not something he would normally do. Little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot and best friend and roommate Oscar would go down for it. Using his past Luke applies he survival skills to find the real killer before its too late.

Luke and Oscar are best friends who couldn't be less alike, Luke being an average student in grades but never once breaking the rules while Oscar is one strike of expulsion. I find a dynamic like this with in friends to be rather common, as they say opposites attract.This I found to be quite relatable making this a good start to this book. Pippa moved from England to the US and has a cool girl persona that sent a wide range of mixed signals to Luke, I found Pippa's situation of moving away from everything you love to start again to be very relatable as well although I didn't move for the same reasons she did, so there being a second fairly relatable theme in this book.  The characters were all very realistic with a wide variety of people that you would except to find in a private school in North America.
The storyline - fantastic, I loved how Vance was able to get Luke to use his history in order to try and save his best friend. Although there wasn't much character development within Luke's character, there was development within the mystery itself, which in my opinion is what counts in a YA mystery novel. Luke used his history to follow the clues he discovered well, but kept underestimating himself. I understand the need to underestimate yourself believing that what ever has happened is just luck because if you didn't maybe you'd have to admit something about yourself. Mr Tadeckis saw that in Luke and although crazy, was definitely my favourite character. (But I think I relate well to crazy, but don't let me go too much into it.)
One issue I did have with this book is that since the teachers are such as big part of this book (being set in a school and all) they need to be slightly more distinguishable, I often got mixed up when Luke was talking to different teachers and I would have to stop and wrack my brain to remember why Luke went to that specific teacher and talked about those specific things. However, this may have simply been how I personally read the book.
Overall the mystery developed well and I am very excited for whenever the next book my be written.
Book Published 6th March 2018

Friday, 6 April 2018

Owl Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Molly Lazer Review

This book was given to me by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I always find retellings to be rather enjoyable, but they don't always deliver - sometimes they are just too similar to the originals by Andersen or the Grimm's or even to the Disney remakes but other times they have enough of an original flare to make them highly enjoyable. And this one delivered.

A stunning retelling of Cinderella, Nora works in the kitchens living with her adoptive family, her parents are dead and the family she works for hates her more than anything. But her life changes when she discovers her father has lived in the main house her whole life, finding this out she begins to question everything - why was she thrown into the kitchen? Why is magic forbidden in the house? Why has she inherited only a silver-bladed knife from her mother?
When a royal ball is announced, Nora must decide what she really wants and whether she is willing to lose every thing she loves to get it.

I found this to be a very fast paced book, A LOT happened in the first 4 chapters and in a book of 18 chapters I did feel slightly swamped by everything that happened. But I also found that to be a huge positive when it came to this book, I couldn't put it down as I was constantly hoping to find out what happened next, and I wasn't disappointed.
Nora the main character, showed few signs of character development until the very end of the book, and seemed to believe she was entitled to an awful lot. This I found hard to deal with while I was reading but as it was a fairy tale, it is to be expected. But because of this, I found it hard to relate to Nora and had a hard time understanding the choices she made, However I am VERY different personality wise and not every book can relate to everyone. My favourite character was Jack, a kitchen boy who worked with Nora and her family along with his mother. Jack was very down to earth and seemed to be Nora's Jiminy Cricket at times. Also in my head he was gorgeous...
As I said previously I had been worried that this book would be too similar to other Cinderella stories but nope. The Kindred (those who could do magic) that were featured in this book were like nothing I have ever read in a Cinderella retelling and with them the whole story, although taking points from the original took a very different path from most that I have read.
I really enjoyed the description used in the chapter featuring market, very well written and reminded me a lot of the description Morganstern used in The Night Circus (another book I really enjoyed).
Molly Lazer was a former associate editor at Marvel Comics and worked on books such as Fantastic Four, Captain America and the New Avengers. These facts surprised me as I saw no parallels between Owl Eyes and the Marvel Comics.
Overall this was a classic fairy tale with Lazer's own personal twist and I enjoyed it greatly.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy or fairy tale retellings, or both.


Book Published by Fire and Ice YA publishers 20th March 2018